Don't Worry Darling
REVIEW COMING SOON!
REVIEW COMING SOON!
Here we have one of those titles that, for me, was far more of a mere curiosity than something I was dying to see. You see, I have a bit of a thing for bottle movies like this, where there's not much going on, but the filmmakers can tell a solid story with what little they have to work with. Granted, they're not for everyone, but I love to see how much they can deliver with as little as they can - so far, I might say the record-holder is 'Buried', which I used as a Screening Suggestion for a phobia-themed month quite some time ago.
Having said that, I finally managed to watch this, but do have one simple regret, and that's that I didn't see it on as big of a screen as I could. You see, I'm a bit weak when it comes to things like heights (and various other things), so my adrenaline fix tends to come from edge-of-your-seat thrillers. I'm safe and secure in my theater seat, but can still feel that certain tingle in my stomach. Sure, it's no roller-coaster as most people can handle, but... it IS why "thriller" is a genre, to begin with. Anyway, this one, in case you couldn't tell, is ALL about playing on the audience's fears of unsafe heights; this was made for someone like me.
Plot-wise, this mainly centers on a couple of thrill-seeking climbers; Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) who has recently lost her husband, Dan (Mason Gooding) in a climbing accident, and has since become terrified of her hobby, and her close friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner), who is determined to get Becky over her fears so she can live her life again. The goal Hunter sets for Becky is to, together, climb to the very top of a 2,000 foot radio tower. For reference, that is about a couple hundred feet higher than Toronto's CN Tower. As these movies go, however, once they make it to the top (in an array of dizzying scenes, tracking their climb), the main ladder falls off, stranding them.
Now, Becky and Hunter (who is also a social media icon of sorts, and filming this whole climb) have to rely on what little they have to survive, try to get some kind of SOS message out, and battle the dry, arid desert air along with circling vultures, just waiting for the two to give up. Even having seen this on my smaller screen, there was enough here to make my stomach churn just a little bit, meaning that quite honestly, the film did exactly what it should have done. In many ways, this worked out to be the bottle thriller that I wanted, and it even takes a few really dark and somewhat unexpected turns, which I quite enjoyed. A lot of the idea of a movie like this is to portray sheer hopelessness, and I have to say that this covered that well.
Make no mistake, however. For as much as I praise the film, it's not without bits and pieces that may not be entirely realistic, and like any bottle movie like this, there's not a whole lot going on. We get to know our characters a little bit in order to route for their survival, but keep in mind that this is a couple of girls on top of a tower for about an hour and forty minutes. So it's definitely one of those acquired taste deals, and if you have no use for bottle movies like this then I can't say I recommend it super highly. However, if you're like me and like to see how creative a film can be by using very little, and/or are a thrill-seeker of film, then it's a decent title altogether.
To close, there's a bonus to the film, as well as a pretty genuine complaint. The good news is that I haven't mentioned the name of Jeffery Dean Morgan yet, who plays Becky's father. He's not a big part of the film, but he's a solid name to have on it, and one of those guys everyone seems to collectively enjoy. The complaint though, and this IS kind of a big deal, is that it ends very abruptly. I even ended up rewinding it to see what I happened to miss, and it wasn't much. So if you plan on checking this out, just keep that in mind. Otherwise, this is a solid title for those who can appreciate this type of movie, and can just sort of go on a thrill ride with it.
While at this point in time, I might consider 'Maverick' to be my favourite of 2022, I have to admit that 'Bullet Train' gives it some very stiff competition. I may have to do them both back to back by the end of the year just to establish which one I thought was better. Truth be told, on this side of the comparison, 'Bullet Train' was much more an, as I so often put it, "Up My Alley" type of film, made with plenty of style, and substance, and meant for a good time as opposed to something to be taken too seriously.
The comparison I have given this is if Guy Ritchie directed a 'Deadpool' movie, as so much of the style of the film is very Guy Ritchie, and could easily be compared to his films 'Lock, Stock' and 'Snatch'. The 'Deadpool' comparison comes more from its director, David Leitch, who also did 'Deadpool 2', and therefore a LOT of the dialogue is reminiscent of it. Hell, Brad Pitt, himself here is almost a Deadpool-like character with his comedic delivery. Having said all of that, this has also been accused of being a Guy Ritchie ripoff, and it's kind of easy to see why... but the thing is, that style is what I loved so much about it, so it's very hard to be upset about it, personally. In fact, I'd love to see the two collaborate one day.
Former assassin, codename "Ladybug" (Pitt), is assigned to a Kyoto-bound bullet train in order to retrieve a briefcase. Also aboard the train are a variety of characters who add all of the charm to the film; A grieving father named Yuichi Kimura (Andrew Koji), who seeks revenge after his son was pushed off a roof; a young lady calling herself the "Prince" (Joey King); two assassin brothers codenamed "Lemon" and "Tangerine" (Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, respectively) who are the briefcase keepers, so to speak; a mystery man type known as The Elder (Hiroyuki Sanada) another assassin called the "Wolf" (Bad Bunny) and several others that will probably make this paragraph too damn long.
It ends up being one of those "everyone is connected to the situation" type of stories, mainly centring on the death of Kimura's son, and the whole briefcase situation. Otherwise, the film is loaded with hilarious moments, great action, and a cast of characters and cameos who keep popping up all throughout that goes further than anyone I've already mentioned - too many of them are pleasant surprises I don't want to spoil. Above anything else, though, is the fact that this is probably the most fun I've had in the theater this year with a movie. It's almost like it's a tide-over for 'Deadpool 3', as you get all of that proper comedic delivery all of us 'Deadpool' fans are craving so much here.
Once again, it should be said that I do have a particular bias towards movies that are this stylistic and fun. That's all I wanted to experience with this, and I got all of that and then some. For me, it was such a good time, and it makes me want to explore more of David Leitch's material - as well as writer Zak Olkewicz, to whom I must also give credit. He doesn't have much under his belt aside from 'Fear Street Part Two' (which, incidentally, was probably my favourite of the three), but I hope he keeps going. He's got some potential! Anyway, if you want to just have a lot of fun with a movie this year, I feel like I can recommend this one pretty highly.
Where the Crawdads Sing
I'll start this one by saying that this wasn't entirely what I thought it would be, judging by what little I had seen of it. I knew that altogether it wasn't exactly on the top of my list of movies to check out, but I hoped for a pleasant surprise for my review. Unfortunately, this is a title that finds itself on that long list of titles I just plain don't care about. I don't want that to take away from anyone's enjoyment of it if you happened to like it. But for some reason, I expected things to be a little more "riveting" than they were.
As per usual, my general disinterest is probably going to make for a somewhat short review. That's not even to say that the film is that bad, but I do admit to succumbing to boredom a few times while watching it. In short - just not for me. Above all that, there is now a whole bunch of controversy that follows this movie involving the original book's author, and her supposed ties to real-life murder, apparently with eerie similarities to plot points within the film. Having said that, I really don't know what's what about all of that, and how much of what I'm reading is true, so I'm not going to dwell. But when controversy follows a movie like that, it makes you wonder about what kind of lifespan the film will even have.
Just a quick plot summary - the film involves a young girl named Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) who, through a series of events, is abandoned by her whole family to live on her own, raising herself in the harsh marshlands of North Carolina. She does quite well for herself, living off of her gardening, and trading fish and mussels for gas to a couple, Jumpin' (Sterling Macer Jr.) and his wife, Mabel (Michael Hyatt). However, to the rest of the community, she gets that "hermit" status, and is referred to as the "Marsh Girl", which in turn, isolates her - that is until two young men enter her life and we start the whole love triangle thing (by the way, have I ever mentioned I'm not the biggest fan of "love triangle" plots?).
The formulaic two men in question are first, Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith); the sweet guy she meets in her childhood who helps her with what she needs and eventually forms a romantic relationship with her until he has to leave for some reason - in this case, college. Second, after turning 19, she meets the quarterback of the football team, Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) who is the more sleazy type, trying to make advances on her and other things asshole-type men do. Eventually, one of these guys is found dead, making Kya an immediate suspect and it kind of goes from there to about what you might expect.
So for me, the whole love triangle plotline and overall predictability as to where things were going through the film, I'm not the biggest fan. However, at best, I might suggest that this could work all right as a half-decent romantic murder mystery one can watch from the comfort of their own couch on a Sunday afternoon. As far as comparison to the book, I really can't say anything, but I'm willing to bet that the book is probably better. However all this controversy goes back to that author, so I don't know what to think about this one altogether. But in short, it's almost sure to be (at least for me) one of the big "forgettable" titles this year.
The Black Phone
Now, this is an interesting combination of subgenres! I don't know for sure that this will end up on my list of 2022's favourites. But I have to give the filmmakers full credit for this original take on an otherwise, fairly typical kidnapping/hostage movie. There are also supernatural elements to this, and even a bit of coming-of-age, as largely, this is about a young man coming into his own. However, I will say this - the journey is pretty damn brutal.
This could be compared to certain titles in which I compare the brutality of the first two acts of the movie to the vengeance factor of the third act. 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'The Last House on the Left' are probably the heaviest examples of such a scenario. So fair trigger warning for this one, it does consist of such things as physical abuse towards a young girl and consistent bullying. However, when it comes to the performances of young Mason Thames as Finney and Madeleine McGraw as his sister, Gwen, I'm once again happy to announce that these are two young actors I'm convinced will make a name for themselves - if not for this, then something soon enough down the line.
The story here takes place in 1978, where the streets of a Denver suburb are being terrorized by a child abductor who has been dubbed "The Grabber" (Ethan Hawke). In the meantime, we follow Finney and Gwen Blake - the children of an alcoholic, abusive father, Terrence (Jeremy Davies). Finney is constantly bullied at school but does have a friendship with a boy named Robin (Miguel Cazarez Mora), who is there to fend off Finney's bullies. Gwen, like her late mother, experiences psychic dreams in which she can see who the Grabber abducts next, and one of these times happens to be her big brother.
Finney awakens in a soundproofed basement, faced with his kidnapper who promises not to harm him and even feeds him. However, on the wall is a black rotary phone, which the Grabber insists doesn't work. Yet when the Grabber is out of the room, Finney gets constant calls from it, from previous victims of the Grabber's kidnappings - from beyond the grave. All who have suffered one way or another before Finney, try to advise him through this black phone as to how the hell to get out of there in one piece. Meanwhile, Gwen tries to use her dreams to help the police catch the Grabber once and for all, as well as locate her brother, hopefully still alive, in the process.
I have to give it to the film for having its good share of imagination to give what is, again, an otherwise fairly typical plot scenario. I really liked the supernatural elements of this - especially when you get to see just who Finney is talking to over this phone. Performances were great, all around, and kudos to the movie for managing to keep me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It's one of those titles that I appreciate more and more, the more I give it any thought, and it certainly has the potential to grow on me over time. It may not quite make a Top 10 list by the end of 2022 - but more than likely a Top 20.
As with a bunch of Liam Neeson's films at this point, I'm finding myself slowly tapping out of it all with Neeson fatigue. But at the very least, I can give this film the fact that he's not chasing after his kidnapped whoever. So it's not entirely typical. But for some reason, at least for me, there's a part of me that just doesn't feel like any more of it - at least to give the man a break. I've seen him plenty of times before this, acting perfectly well, and know he has more to offer than just being an action hero.
Needless to say, this probably won't be a very long review. I just don't have anything to really say about it. His action flicks feel kind of just "there" now, and it feels like a waste of his skills. Anyway, here, Neeson plays Alex Lewis; a contract killer suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. Taking his orders from Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci), he eventually finds himself tasked to kill off an innocent barely teenage girl named Beatriz (Mia Sanchez); a task he refuses to carry through. In the meantime, Beatriz has been cared for by Special Agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) of the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, having rescued her from a sex trafficking job her father forced her into.
Sadly, the story gets going when the hit is actually carried out by a heartless hitman named Mauricio (Lee Boardman), sent by Sealman, who will be the subject of Liam Neeson's revenge, today. From there, it's basically Neeson taking the wheel of action while Guy Pearce takes the wheel of detective, trying to piece together everything leading up to Beatriz's death... and yes, odds are I could quite well be a little "off" in my description because, cards on the table, I wasn't paying very close attention to this whole thing. It's not that it's a terrible movie, but it's not exactly riveting. It just feels very standard and belongs on a long list of movies that might have done better in the early 90s.
I may not be tired and worn out by Marvel flicks like a lot of people are nowadays, but Neeson action movies are just wearing thin on me. And I have absolutely nothing against him as an actor because, again, I know he can do very well. I think I've said similar things on my last couple of reviews of his films, but sometimes it's just unfortunately what there is to watch that week. I must apologize for delivering something so half-assed, but from the look of it, no one else really gave it much attention either. But while it remains such a standard and basic Neeson action flick, one thing remains - what about the whole Alzheimer's thing?
It IS somewhat intriguing to watch Liam Neeson play the same basic action man he has for some time now and finally see something where HE is fallible. However, the execution of it all didn't exactly pull me in with intrigue so much as feel like the Alzheimer's situation is just trying to be a more serious and humanistic version of the memory loss situation we've seen in other famous action flicks - the 'Bourne' movies probably being the stand-out title (although granted, a very different take). Anyway, unfortunately, this is one review I just have very little to say about. What can I say? It's a Liam Neeson action movie, you know how it's all gonna go down, and it's only entertaining on a lazy Sunday afternoon with nothing better to do.
As far as 2022 titles are going so far, I can pretty much guarantee that this is one I'll forget that I even saw by the end of the year. I'm not saying it's god awful or anything, but it's... a Liam Neeson movie. Ever since 'Taken', they all sort of seem to blend together (at least in my head). The man has become his own cliche so much that people joke about "going full Liam Neeson" if anyone bothered their daughter.
Taking that lightly, however, I went into this expecting exactly what I got (more or less). It's just a formula, and it's bothersome to know how incredibly good an actor Neeson is when he's so typecast like this. His best role in the last decade, for myself, was probably his cameo in 'Ted 2' just because of it. Anyway, while I'm beating this into the ground, it would appear quite clear that Neeson fans are pretty hardcore when it comes down to it. The 'Rotten Tomato' average for this (currently) is about 45%. And the only reason that's so "high" is that the audience was generous enough to give it a solid 81%.
So what's Liam up to this time? Well, his name is Travis Block. He's a war vet, and he works for the FBI under director, Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn). His role is to bring in agents who have found themselves in sticky situations, and he's really quite good at it. However, he really wishes to retire in order to spend more time with his family; namely his daughter, Amanda (Claire van der Boom) and granddaughter, Natalie (Gabriella Sengos). Robinson sends him on one last mission; to collect Dusty Crane (Taylor John Smith). However, Crane has some really revealing information about what the Feds are doing behind everyone's back.
Caught up in the middle of everything is journalist, Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman), who is covering a story on the death of female activist, Sofia Flores (Mel Jarnson). She is first contacted about the murder by Crane, who claims he has information about it. It's not long before Mira and Block both find themselves in a sort of rabbit hole in which the feds are running a project that may or may not involve the killing of a whole whack of innocent civilians, and it may be up to them to put a stop to it. It's... interesting to say the least.
Really and truly, there isn't much to this movie. It's a whole bunch of action-thriller cliches rolled into a quick buck of a movie. It's the perfect example of what I like to call a "paycheck movie". Typically, this entails a great actor going with a not-so-great script because, hell, this is their job. Pretty much any actor you can think of has a few of these, and Liam Neeson is no exception. In fairness, it seems like he's pretty happy where he is with everything, and enjoys living out this repetitive role. Going back to his cameo in 'Ted 2', not taking himself too seriously is pretty evident.
As far as the film goes, it's just forgettable for yours truly. I really would like to see Liam flex his acting muscles more than he does with these roles because I know he can do well. Otherwise, he just keeps giving us the same thing over and over again, and nothing is ever a surprise anymore. That said, maybe I'm just not there with his adoring fans who can't get enough of this. This is one I lean more on with the critics and would suggest that it's just not that great - even as a mindless action movie. This one's more for the hardcore Neeson fans than anyone else, because it's just more of the same. And in case you were wondering at all, yes, spoiler alert, his family does find themselves in danger... are you at all surprised?
At this point, after yet another Covid lockdown, it appears that theaters are reopening again. So (knock on wood) I'll have access to movies we actually give a damn about, instead of reviewing titles like these, that probably have whoever is reading this asking "what in the hell is this?" There isn't even a summary of the film on its Wiki page (which I often use for help, lest I forget certain details)... I'll uh, do my best.
The film opens with the crash-landing of a military cargo plane, during World War II. The crash happens behind enemy lines, within the Black Forest of Germany. The plane carried top secret material, and a team of skilled soldiers are sent by a Maj. Johnson (Mickey Rourke) to retrieve it. Led by Sergeant Brewer (Robert Knepper) and Walsh (Jackson Rathbone), the team search the forest until they discover the bodies of hanged Nazi soldiers among others, all bearing strange markings that turn out to be ancient magical symbols.
Before the team knows it, all sorts of strange things start happening to them. Their compasses fail, and they get to questioning their own sanity, as they seem trapped by some kind of strong, supernatural entity. Knowing that Nazis are into the supernatural for uses of power, the team must dig deep, and discover the twisted truth that lies behind whatever it is that seems to be attacking them. So, a lot of this is another horror flick based on Nazi experimentation, of which there are FAR better titles to choose from. But, although it takes a weird direction, i can at least give it credit for a touch of originality.
A lot of this dark magic turns out to be witchcraft, and I personally find it to be an original take on the World War II horror genre - which is around, but there's not a whole whack of them. There is something about soldiers facing off against the supernatural that speaks to the haunted mindset some real-world WWII soldiers probably had. A lot of it can be taken metaphorically, be it the soldiers "battling their inner demons", the soldiers "venturing into the very frightening unknown" or hey, sometimes the soldier has to just "fight a monster", either representative of the entire Nazi regime, or Hitler, himself.
Having said all that, it's sort of difficult to place this in any of those particular categories. Sometimes a movie is just... being a B movie. So, it's a pretty good example of a movie made for fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. This parallels things like 'Piranha 3D' or 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'. Its not too bad if you're just looking for a cheap thrill. But I will suggest to look elsewhere if you're looking for real substance. It's kinda fun, but it's not what I'd call "worthy of big-screen attention".
No Time to Die
The 'Bond' films are another really strange property for yours truly. If I could use one word to describe it, it might be "disconnect". I came into things during the Brosnan era with 'Goldeneye', but didn't see all of his films. Add to that the fact that I never saw anything prior, and the Craig era is the only era I ever paid any real attention to. Craig is, therefore, my Bond, and retiring from here on out. Between 'Casino Royale' to here, I have seen them all in theaters, and they've all been a real treat (except maybe 'Quantum of Solace'). This one was no exception.
The film opens in the past where we meet a young Madeleine Swann (Coline Defaud), who we'll remember from 'Spectre', and her mother (Mathilde Bourbin). A mysterious man in a mask enters, who is after Madeleine's father, Mr. White (portrayed by Jesper Christensen in previous Craig films). White is gone, however, so he sets his sights on his family to hurt him even worse. In the process, Madeleine's life is spared, but she tragically loses her mother. We then fast-forward to present day where we see Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) with Bond (Daniel Craig), after the capture of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) as they head for Matera where Bond will be able to say his final farewells to Vesper (previously played by Eva Green).
Bond is suddenly ambushed by Spectre assassins, which leads Bond to believe that he's been double-crossed by Madeleine. They escape together, but he puts her on a train and parts ways with her, and the credits begin with Billie Eilish's 'No Time to Die' theme. Personally, not my favourite, and as far as the Craig films are concerned, 'Skyfall' is very hard to top. But graphically, it looked pretty amazing. This might be a good time to mention that, though you don't necessarily need to, it might be good to brush up on some of the history of 'Bond' before moving forward. I've already referenced a few things from previous films, but just in case I miss something, I might suggest taking a look a this.
Anyway, five years pass, and we find MI6 scientist, Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) kidnapped from his lab. He had developed a nanobot bioweapon able to infect upon touch, coded to an individual's DNA. The weapon is known as Project Heracles, and it was approved by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond is contacted by Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and his acquaintance, Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) in their attempt to locate and retrieve Obruchev. At first he declines, but he soon realizes that a lady named Nomi (Lashana Lynch) has since taken his place as "007" since his retirement. He informs Bond about Haracles, kicking Bond into action, and that's about al of the plot I'm gonna roll out here.
Being that this is the last of the Craig films, there's actually quite a bit that attaches itself to his previous films. I may even recommend a bit of a marathon before checking this one out, just to keep up to date. Truth be told, there were a few moments here and there when I had to try to remember who some of these characters were. It's not essential that you see the previous films beforehand, but I really think it would help a lot. There's four to go through, and 'Quantum' is actually pretty short, so it's not that bad of an undertaking. Also bear in mind that I'm not what one would call a 'Bond' fan. I don't have that attachment so many others do, so it's very likely that I miss a lot of the obvious to fans.
When all said and done, this is just like any other 'Bond' movie I end up seeing. Although it's not necessarily meant for me and my mindset, I can still see 'Bond' fans really liking this. I also had to admire the way the film ended, in that it really does seem to come to a close. The only real questions on my mind at this point though are "Who will be the next James Bond?" and "Will I like them better than I liked Daniel Craig?" Time will tell, but until then, I would claim this as a property that has my utmost respect, even though it's not altogether up my alley. I still have a fun time watching these movies though, and I hope they keep coming with or without Craig, just because if nothing else, they are fun action adventure flicks made for the big screen experience.
To begin with, this is one of few horror movie series that I never touched on. The curiosity has been there for a while, but I never considered the Candyman to be quite on the same level as someone like Freddy or Jason. Having said that, before checking this film out, I was about 99% clueless as to what 'Candyman' was all about. I knew the line "be my victim", I knew that he was associated with bees, I knew he had a hook for a hand, and I knew he appeared in the mirror after saying his name five times - really just another take on the 'Bloody Mary' game.
I went into this thinking it was an all-out reboot, or even soft reboot, but it turns out that it's a direct sequel to the first film. Whether or not it excludes the second and third films in the original series and does an all out 'Halloween', I'm not sure. But from a noob's perspective, it seems to only tie in with the first film, as this has to do with little Anthony McCoy, about thirty years after the events of the original when we see him as a baby. For someone like me, something I had to admire about this movie was how it recalled the story of the original movie, with some paper cut-out animation that turns the first movie into a bit more of a campfire legend, which I thought was actually a pretty awesome idea.
In the years that have passed, Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has become a well-received visual artist, living with his girlfriend, Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris), who also happens to be an art gallery director. One day, they are told the story of Helen Lyle (aka 'Candyman' '92) by Bianna's brother, Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). The story inspires Anthony to travel to Cabrini-Green (where the Helen story took place), looking for more inspiration to further his artwork. This soon leads him to laundromat owner, William Burke (Colman Domingo) who tells him the story of the Candyman, who once lived in his neighbourhood, and of course the big conclusion is the whole urban legend of saying his name in the mirror five times, only to have it result in your bloody demise.
Inspiration hits Anthony like lightning, and he develops an exhibit based on the Candyman legend called "Say My Name" (and yes, 'Breaking Bad' still uses that phrase better). The audience's reaction to the exhibit isn't entirely positive, and before he knows it, people start playing the "Candyman" game, and lives are claimed, while he experiences a bee sting that isn't exactly average. What does it mean? Well, no spoilers. Anyway, as I expected from the film, I found it to be somewhat average, but somewhat admirable at the same time. The way it presented the events of the '92 film was one of the more admirable parts of this, and when I eventually do get around to watching it, it will feel a bit more like a prequel fans of this movie want to see.
We've established that I really enjoy the animation, but on top of that, I liked the way this movie tackled the psychological aspect of horror while blending it with just enough gross gore and body horror that it's something that seems to cover all grounds. When you think of different horror elements, this is something that pretty much has it all. And, having seen bits a pieces of the original, it also seems to keep the aesthetic going. There's something cold and almost abandoned feeling about these movies. It's a hard thing to describe, but we can just land on psychological for now. It does a pretty good job of playing with the brain, and I couldn't help but like the way it ended - it's been done before, but the way it goes down is something I'm a sucker for.
My only real criticism of this one is that there were parts that felt a bit slow. But even that is a pretty desperate nitpick, considering it's only an average hour and a half long flick. Jordan Peele is behind a lot of the writing here, along with BlacKKKlansman producer, Win Rosenfeld, and upcoming 'The Marvels' director (and director of this), Nia DaCosta - an up and coming African American woman who I look forward to seeing more from. My criticisms on this one are, if anything, very nitpicky, and this is altogether a pretty great modern horror movie. Between this and 'Quiet Place II', it's nice to see some horror that isn't just more ghosts and demons and exorcisms. I have missed the urban legend slasher, and even though this is more psychological, it counts as a breath of fresh air.
Wrath of Man
Here we have the latest film from director, Guy Ritchie; the man responsible for a couple of titles I consider classics - 'Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch' as well as Robert Downey Jr's 'Sherlock Holmes' movies (the first of which was far superior). He's a bit of a hit and miss director in my eyes, a lot of the time I tend to meet his films in the middle, and this is such a good example of one of his most middle-ground movies to me.
The film flows a bit like 'Pulp Fiction' in as much as it's divided into four parts, all surrounding one particular event - the armed robbery of an armoured truck, killing two guards and a civilian. Five months later, we meet our mystery man lead, Patrick Hill, or more commonly, "H" (Jason Statham), who applies for a guard job at Fortico Security (the company we see get robbed in the beginning). His superior, Terry (Eddie Marsan) mentions the robbery, and warns him of the conditions of the job while the age-old cliche of H's new co-workers ripping on the new guy plays on. Among them, "Bullet" (Holt McCallany), who's responsible for showing him the new guy the ropes; the cocky guy who decidedly hates the new guy, "Boy Sweat" Dave (Josh Hartnett), and Dana (Niamh Algar) the token woman whose sole purpose is to emasculate all of the men.
In the midst of a training pickup, Bullet is taken hostage, but H manages to rescue him showing phenomenal skill that suggests he held back during his training. As the film unfolds, we get to learn about just why H has become a part of the armoured trucks team when he's clearly overqualified. The result is basically a revenge film that offers a twist here, a turn there, and leaves you guessing about things along the way. The overall execution can get a bit confusing at points, however, and while the idea is pretty cool, it's still another revenge film, and I feel like I've seen better - even this year with 'Nobody'. I still enjoyed myself, but this is another case where I feel there's simply better material out there.
I think if you're a Statham fan, this is a good time, especially since he's back to playing a strong silent type. Speaking for myself, this felt like a good example of another video game movie that isn't officially a video game movie. A lot of that isn't even about the action of it all so much as the way the characters interact. The whole opening locker room scene made me think of any game where you play the silent rookie, interacting with various people in the main hub before going on your mission. A lot of that is the dialogue, which I have to admit, I found pretty corny. I don't know if my description does it justice, but check it out, and you'll probably grasp what I'm trying to get across.
This just happened to be an action flick that didn't entirely succeed on having my on the edge of my seat. This isn't like watching 'John Wick' where you watch the fighting with wide eyes and are somewhat blown away. This one's a touch more real-world about things, but it doesn't really do it with the same dose of comedy Ritchie's other films do. The comedy action is the real draw for me, but this was much more serious. While there's nothing wrong with that, I have to say I expected something else I didn't quite get. Still, it's not bad, and I wouldn't recommend avoiding it or anything either. If you wants some serious shoot-'em-up action with Statham behind the wheel, I say go for it. But I'll stick with Ritchie's other material.
Godzilla vs Kong
Ever since 'The Avengers' was announced, several studios attempted their own universes, most of the time jumping the gun completely and falling on their asses. Warner Bros' DC Universe rushed itself with 'Batman v Superman' as only its second film, and the "Dark Universe" assumed it was good to go with just one movie; 'The Mummy' no one asked for; now known as one of Universal Studios' biggest blunders. I mean, at least DC still has its loyal fanbase. Things seemed the new equivalent of book series adaptations - everyone once wanted to be the new 'Harry Potter'.
When you get right down to it, adapting a universe into film is very much a roll of the dice. It all teeters on that first film and whether or not its successful enough to allow you to keep going. Sometimes those dice give you snake eyes, but sometimes you can roll that lucky seven and succeed. In the case of the new movie "Universes", for my money, one that does a good job is what has become known as the MonsterVerse (not to be confused with the Dark Universe). It's nothing I would ever call perfect, but between 'Godzilla', 'Kong: Skull Island' and 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' I have always found myself entertained. I would swiftly become a Kong fan with it being my favourite of the three. But the 'Godzilla' films certainly weren't without a certain charm. I could always have fun with them.
'Godzilla vs Kong' takes place five years after the events of 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'. We see Kong exploring what appears to be his natural habitat, but it's quickly revealed that he's been captured, and is being monitored by Monarch in a special facility. Within this facility, Kong has befriended a deaf girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle) who speaks to him using sign language. She would be the girl from the now famous "pointing" scene in the accompanying image. With her, is her adopted mother and Kong expert, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) who fears that if Kong is ever released or escapes, Godzilla will come after him, defending his title as King of the Monsters.
Speaking of Godzilla, now seen by the people as a friend (despite a lot of destruction), he comes to shore at Pensacola, FL to cause more destruction as he attacks an Apex Cybernetics facility. While people wonder what's gotten into Godzilla, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) goes to her friend Josh (Julian Dennison) for help in investigating why Godzilla attacked, knowing it wasn't an act of random violence. The two get further help from podcasting conspiracy theorist, Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), who's pretty much here to play his version of Doug E. Doug from 'Eight-Legged Freaks'. It will eventually all lead to a big reveal that seems somewhat obvious from the get-go, but it's still REALLY cool when it does happen.
Back to Kong, a guy named Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) comes onto the scene as an expert on Hollow Earth (the hidden homeworld of all Titans). He is called into action by Apex CEO, Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), who believes Hollow Earth contains a particular power source. This power source will allow them to give life to a weapon that can defend the public from Godzilla if he attacks unprovoked again. Once onto the scene, Lind soon recruits Ilene, Kong and Jia to find and explore Hollow Earth, but unknown to the recruits are Lind's plans to find this power source. Along the way, of course, Kong and Godzilla to become aware of each other, and the film of course delivers on its promise of a Clash of Titans.
The one thing this movie does that the others don't do quite as well is leave the movie to the monsters, and things associated with them. "Too much human" happens to be a thing in a lot of these types of movies, pushing the star attraction to the background. Hell, in the first 'Godzilla', he's barely even in it until the end. They always get a little better, but because this was 'Godzilla vs Kong', the filmmakers thankfully don't hold back a damn thing. One thing I admire about the film is that they do go all out because they fully understand what this is, and what fans are there to see. You know what you're watching is dumb, fun action that goes back to the 60s. Even the Hollow Earth concept is lifted right out of 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'; a book published in the late 1800s.
If you really want to get into various criticisms of the film, I found it often moved too fast, and became a touch incomprehensible at times. On top of that, the destruction and death these two cause is off the charts while we humans also stupidly kill ourselves by flying too damn close and often crashing our fighter jets. For some reason, however, given the way the film is presented and understanding that it's cheesy in and of itself, the titans just kind of get a pass for such things. It's almost like having a sex crazed couple with little to no personality in a horror movie; you know what's gonna happen, but the film feels incomplete without it. If you can just have fun with this, it delivers on what it says it is while giving more. Don't take this too seriously - it's not meant to be.
Fear of Rain
Ah the early winte months of the year, combined with a pandemic. It is what it is, but when it comes to my "Now Playing" reviews, some weeks involve tracking down something not so well known - like this particularly under-the-radar flick that's just kind of floating among the New Releases list on Google Play Movies (this is pretty much how I do things now). With titles like these, I always go in expecting it not to be very memorable, but I have to admit, this had some cool things about it I appreciated.
The film opens with a girl running through the woods from a mysterious, hooded figure, chasing and attempting to kill her. The girl, Rain Burroughs (Madison Iseman) suddenly wakes up in a hospital, overhearing the voices of her mother Michelle (Katherine Heigl) and father John (Harry Connick Jr), and is taken to a therapy room for recovery. Upon a therapist visit and her coming back home, we quickly realize that Rain seemingly wasn't chased by anyone, but hallucinated the whole thing due to taking herself off whatever meds she was supposed to be on.
The next day, Rain goes back to school where she seemingly loses a friend to a group of stuck up little brats who presume Rain is out for attention. However, along come Caleb (Israel Broussard) who manages to brighten her day with a card trick, and asking her out. But just as things are looking up for her, Rain starts to have more visions. While coming home from school, she sees a child get snatched, but suddenly the child and the kidnapper vanish. Then, one night, she has a nightmare involving her teacher and neighbor, Mrs. McConnell (Eugenie Bondurant) harboring a child.
The next day, John and Rain go to check out Mrs. McConnell's house, but find no evidence of anything. However, Rain is still pretty certain of there being something fishy going on. She the recruits Caleb to help her out, as he seems to be the only one who will listen to her. Soon enough, however, she and the viewing audience begin to question what's real and what's in her head - namely, the situation involving Mrs. McConnell, and Caleb, himself. Can Rain rescue the little girl trapped next door, or is there even anyone in danger?
All in all, I meet this one in the middle. Sometimes when movies show the dark side of mental health, and the people who react around the victim, I can have a hard time of it. I find myself looking for something to appreciate about it, and in fairness, this does a decent job of showing us the every day horror Rain has to go through on a daily basis. This poor girl suffers from both auditory and visual hallucinations, so things can get pretty uncomfortable to watch. In that case, the film does its job. She hears voices, sees things, and even has inner battles with herself.
One thing I really appreciated about this was its cinematography. Rain's hallucinations are all portrayed visually quite well, utilizing some pretty cool effects, and text that jumps across the screen representing her "list" (things she has to question in order to snap out of her hallucinations). This all ends in an interesting twist, as one probably expects, but when it's all said and done you might consider it pretty predictable. Personally, I knew A twist was bound to happen, but when the big reveal shows itself, you just think "I shouldn't have missed that". All in all, this was pretty cool for what it was, but I can't imagine that it will stick out as a "favorite" by the end of 2021.
The Little Things
Right off the bat, I'm going to have to confess that this review may not turn out to be my best. The fact of the matter is, this was not a movie that sucked me in, its ideas have been done before, but better, and it's just plain too long and boring for what it's trying to be. That's something I hate to admit to when Denzel is involved, as I consider him one of the finest actors in Hollywood, but it's sadly true. There is just nothing particularly special about this one.
It all opens in 1990 where we see a girl being chased. She manages to run towards an oncoming transport truck and flag it down, thus rescuing her from her pursuer. So we get that there's some creepy guy on the loose and our first victim isn't even a mood-setting victim. Fast-forward a bit to Kern County, LA, where deputy sheriff Joe "Deke" Deacon (Denzel Washington) is called to collect evidence for a recent murder. Deacon soon accompanies new lead detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to a fresh murder scene, where he finds similarities between this murder and one he was unable to solve during his time as a former LA sheriff's detective.
Before long, the pair end up questioning one Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), a prime suspect in the murders who works at a repair shop. As the FBI starts to take things over, the detectives find themselves up against the clock even more so. Further to that, will they be able to solve these grizzly murder cases and find their killer without it affecting Deacon's performance? Or indeed, is Deacon the one we have to be worried about to begin with? The film is fairly reminiscent of 'Seven' and/or 'The Bone Collector' from my perspective - but also, from my perspective, both of those movies offer a lot more than this. While the aforementioned films consist of great suspense and disturbing imagery, this one tries, but manages it to a much lesser extent.
My final impressions of this one were simply that it felt too long for what it needed to do, I've seen better movies within the genre, and this is a lot more talking than anything else. There's not a whole lot here that gives you an "edge-of-your-seat" perspective, and I would say it would be worth waiting out the current rental cost so as to stream it for free. If you're into the whole dark and disturbing detective thing, it works okay, but I'd liken it more to a 3-part TV miniseries than a movie made for big screen appreciation. Though it has shadows of movies like 'Seven', there's nothing that stands out about it apart from perhaps the performances. That actually brings me to my next point, because I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.
In a movie with a cast that consists of Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, the only one who really stands out is Rami Malek. Denzel seems to have taken a voluntary step down, and it feels like this might be a "paycheck" movie for the man. He's still charming as ever, but the writing has him sleepwalking through most of this. As for Leto, I think there's still too many shades of his Joker here, and that just turns me away altogether. He's always been incredibly hit-or-miss for me, and never truly a personal favorite. Malek, on the other hand, really seems to have come into his own after his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and it's almost as if we're seeing Denzel pass the torch from solid A-lister to rookie A-lister. It's interesting, but you do kind of wonder how a movie starring Denzel does not have Denzel carrying it on his shoulders.
So, if you're super curious about this one, I'm not gonna sit here and try to steer you away from watching it. I would, however, encourage you to wait it out so that at the very least it might be less costly. In the days of the video store, this would be the equivalent of me suggesting renting it from the video store when it comes out, as opposed to paying to see it on the big screen. There's just nothing special about it that stands out, and despite its best efforts, it's just a bit of a snooze-fest. It may manage to capture someone else's attention better than mine, but this one is reserved for those who get a kick out of detective movies where the conversation takes a front seat, leaving the action and overall suspense in the back. It does hurt to give a Denzel Washington movie a poor rating, but I suppose these things are eventually bound to happen.
As if specifying the year shouldn't be enough, I actually feel like I should probably specify which 2019 'Dreamland' movie this is. Believe it or not, another film of the same title was released in the same year, but with a very different story. To put it simply, this is the Margot Robbie one, recently released on VOD, directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte of upcoming 'Tank Girl' fame (or infame, the movie isn't made yet).
Here we have a depression-era 'Bonnie & Clyde' wannabe with a story you've basically seen about a million times. This is that story where the renegade character hides out in a barn while someone tends to (in this case) her, all the while hiding her from family and authorities. In this case, a fugitive bank robber named Allison Welles (Robbie) finds herself crossing paths with the son of a bounty hunter named Eugene Evans (Finn Cole). Eugene dreams of a fantasy life of being rebellious, going against authority, and reads action comics to escape. For the time being, about as rebellious as he gets is going so far as to steal these comics. The family being in dire straits makes him "have to" steel them, but he is soon caught.
Meanwhile, on the run from the law, Allison finds an abandoned barn that belongs to the Evans family, but unused due to the drought. Here, Eugene finds her and eventually finds himself torn between two decisions; does he turn her in and get a piece of the bounty, saving his family? Or does he side with her and live the renegade life he's always fantasized about? Truth be told, the decision they go with here is something I have to give credit to. I won't spoil what happens, but I will say that when it's all said and done, there's something very real and believable about the story here. I enjoyed the path it took, but I will admit that not everyone is going to agree on it.
One thing about this I find interesting is that it's narrated by the grown-up voice (Lola Kirke) of Eugene's little sister, Phoebe (Darby Camp). It tells her account of what happened between her brother and Allison, so it ends up being a love story from another person's perspective which I don't think is all that common. You'd think that such a setup predictably spoils the fates of our heroes, but you just might be thinking wrong. I didn't entirely love this movie, but I had to give it up to the way it all ended. Let's just say it's pretty open, but it's also not the kind of ending that's gonna blow your mind.
The performances here are pretty solid, but it's Robbie who really shines through. I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but it's cool to see how far she's come. If it weren't for her performance in this, I daresay the movie would have been pretty boring. For a 'Bonnie & Clyde' wannabe, there's not a whole hell of a lot going on. There's just mid-level suspense when it comes to whether or not they're going to get caught. But you end up liking Robbie's character, and even empathizing with her a little despite what she's been through. The end of the film, once again, brings it all to light.
I'm gonna be a bit generous with this one, perhaps, but there was enough to hold my attention based on Robbie's performance, certain visual sequences and once again, just how real the story felt. For a work of fiction, it's more believable than some movies based on true stories - so I really have to give it credit for that. Finn Cole was nothing to sneeze at either, but he is a bit jittery and often not altogether likeable. But that's also part of what makes things make sense in the end, so I can't be too mad at that. It's a redundant storyline, but the execution is good enough that I got something from it more than I have in a while now with recent releases.
This week's last-minute VOD selection (this is just gonna be a thing now) is a bit of a Halloween leftover. This is a bit like taking 'Serpent and the Rainbow', 'Misery', 'Get Out' and maybe a touch of 'The Hills Have Eyes' and throwing it all into a blender. Coming to us from director Mark Tonderai, we probably best recognize his film work from the long-forgotten Jennifer Lawrence thriller, 'The House at the End of the Street'. He otherwise dabbles in a lot of TV, and it sort of shows with his quality of film that he may be better off. These movies aren't terrible, but if they were AMC originals, you wouldn't be surprised.
The film opens up with a disturbing black screen, accompanied by the sound of the beating of a child, presumably with a belt. This turns out to be our lead, Marquis Woods (Omari Hardwick) as a kid, and his recently deceased father (Ri-Karlo Handy). In present day, Marquis receives word of his father's death, and his wife, Veora (Lorraine Burroughs) insists that they go to the funeral in rural Appalachia. Along with their two children, Samsara and Tyden (Hannah Gonera and Kalifa Burton, respectively), they begin to fly out using Marquis' private plane.
The family does have to land to fuel up, but during this we get our harbinger scene where a couple of creepy dudes let the audience know that this family is headed towards danger. Sure enough, eventually the plane is caught in a terrible storm, crashes, and Marquis awakens all alone in a strange room. Here, Ms. Eloise (Loretta Devine) and her husband, Earl (John Beasley) have him trapped, keeping him from the rest of his family. As Marquis attempts several escapes while nearly getting caught, he slowly unravels a disturbing web of dark voodoo magic, and must attempt to find and rescue his family before they become part of a ritual during next blood moon.
Right off the bat, I'm gonna go ahead and say that if you're an animal lover, you're probably gonna want to avoid this movie. They kill plenty of animals here, and use their parts for the magic involved in the plot. So it's not really unnecessarily crowbarred in, but it might show you more than you wish to see without being up close and personal about it - that's saved for other scenes involving a spike in a foot, which is also very cringe-worthy. So it's not for those who don't like torture porn either. Between those two elements alone, I'm surprised I managed to sit through it. But to the film's credit, it was disturbing even without the gory stuff, and I found it fairly reminiscent of 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' in some respects.
This is a fairly different twist on the typical "held-captive" movie, using black magic and not really holding back with it. But before you watch it and simply say "Voodoo is bad" after seeing all of this horror, please do your homework on it. More than anything, the horror from this comes from how it's used and who is using it. It's the difference between handing a machete to Jason Voorhees or Martha Stewart. All in all, I didn't mind the film, but it's still something I wouldn't recommend as anything more than a cheap rental. It does its job at being disturbing and creepy, and the villain performances are spot on, especially by Loretta Devine. But the fact of the matter is, it's just a different take on a very familiar formula, and it involves dissecting animals and looking at Voodoo as "evil". One might get more than me from it, but it's a once-only watch for this guy.
The Secrets We Keep
For this week, we take a look at a whole different type of horror that's far more serious than that of our regular ghouls and goblins of Halloween. This one is about the horrors of World War II, what it meant to be held prisoner in a concentration camp, and the after effects on one's mind. Things don't get too graphic, thankfully, but it's not without a little bit of that torture porn I hate so much. This time much of it is psychological, but we cut off a finger or two here just as well.
Some time after the war, couple Maja (Noomi Rapace) and Lewis (Chris Messina) are trying to get their lives back on track after years of difficulty with Maja having a big set of personal problems. Things are going swimmingly, and the couple is happy along with their son, Patrick (Jackson Dean Vincent) until one day, Maja becomes distracted by someone. Their neighbor, Thomas (Joel Kinnaman), as far as Maja's memory serves her, is supposedly a Nazi who once tortured her and family among several others during the war.
Upon recognizing Thomas, Maja knocks out and kidnaps him while pretending to have car trouble. She then brings him to their house in the trunk of their car, and brings up her brutal history to Lewis that she's kept all these years. It turns out Lewis knew about her fears and nightmares that lead to her personal problems, but never quite the full truth about the source. Together, they bound and gag the suspect, and keep him in the basement while trying to maintain a seemingly ordinary life for their son. Although I must say, it's hard for me to believe the kid doesn't clue in to what's going on. That part of the movie is actually somewhat ridiculous.
The concept of keeping someone bound and gagged in the basement isn't entirely original. However, I will say that I enjoyed the details involved. It begs the question of how you would deal with someone who you suspect once made your life a living hell, using a Nazi as the person in question; perhaps the easiest group of people for the general public to hate. The film keeps you guessing as to whether or not Thomas is who he says he is, and that's enough. But things get even more complex when we learn about Thomas' family who, even potentially associated with a Nazi, are trying to start a new, post-war life - just like Maja and Lewis.
I don't think that this was a title ever meant for theaters, so with that said, it's pretty forgivable for its overall unoriginality. When you boil it all down, things do become somewhat predictable, and although the film doesn't exactly insult its audience, it asks us to buy into some pretty stupid stuff. For me, once again, I can't get over the son of the household just going about his business while some guy is being held in the basement. Even taking the neighborhood into consideration, you'd think things like the sound of gunfire from a local house just might trigger something. I think through the whole move there's about one half-assed search of the house.
This is another one of those titles that I'm not really sure how to feel about. I enjoy the concept well enough, and how the film keeps you guessing as to Thomas' real identity, but I can guarantee that it's gonna be more predictable for others than myself, and there's a lot of tropes here that have been used time and time again. It asks quite a bit of the audience to buy into certain things, but the atmosphere is fairly chilling and I have to admit that the ending is actually pretty interesting and dark and is actually in the way of how I wanted to see things go down, so I'm not really dissatisfied. But I am still just mildly entertained. It's nothing mind-blowing, just an interesting take on a kidnapping movie.
Death of Me
It took a little planning, but I did manage to get a Halloween themed month going for my Now Playing page, and I'm pretty excited about it. For my first review of the month, I take a look at the VOD title, 'Death of Me'; a cautionary tale about travelling internationally, and another film to add to the new potential trend of "travel horror", with which I took a look at 'The Rental' and 'Fantasy Island' earlier this year. It could be the next step with things like Air B&B. Even though it's not entirely original, it's scary stuff to think about when travelling to an unfamiliar land.
The film opens with vacationing couple, Christine (Maggie Q) and Neil (Luke Hemsworth) waking up after a heavy night of drinking, in a hotel room on a remote island in Thailand. They have no memory of the night before, but the real problem is that their passports have gone missing. In an attempt to recall the previous night, Neil takes a look at his phone, only to find a video of him brutally murdering Christine, and burying her, giving at least some explanation to the dirt in the bed Christine wakes up in... but not really. Before this nightmarishly mysterious clip, however, we also see footage of a waitress giving them something, which may have the answers to what's happening.
Although often brushed off as collective hallucinations, there's something very real and almost otherworldly that the couple is experiencing. The most unfortunate thing about it though, is that it does get somewhat confusing, as the viewer keeps questioning what's real and what's not; not in a good way, in an irritating way. I suppose to summarize, it's basically 'The Hangover' if it were a horror movie. It's a cool concept, but it could have been executed a little more simply than just feeding us gross imagery that we're not sure is real or not. There are also heavy hints of 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' here, in the sense that these visitors to an exotic land get drugged and their whole experience is a nightmare.
While the gist of the plot remains pretty standard for a trippy horror movie, this one is for those who are after some seriously creepy imagery to knock their minds around a bit. So much of this can come from the local faces of the area this couple is staying, and it's combined pretty well with the idea of not knowing who on the island they can trust. Hell, can Christine even trust her own husband? It keeps your mind going, but again, it somewhat falls apart in the process. All in all, it's effectively scary, and it gives you that dread feeling in your gut, especially when you see some of the lengths the film goes to. If you don't wanna go there with "eye stuff" or "gut stuff", it's not a good one. There is, unfortunately, a torture porn aspect to this.
While it's not quite up there with 'Hostel', it could somewhat be compared to something like 'Saw' - of which director Darren Lynn Bousman directed parts 'II', 'III' and 'IV'. He's also responsible for 'Repo: The Genetic Opera' (a cult hit, of sorts) and one of my new favorite low budget Halloween watches - 'Tales of Halloween'. His works are curious to me, but at the end of the day, works I only need to see once and be done with them. He seems keen on those "take a shower afterwards" movies that make you feel like you were just in a terribly filthy place in your head. For something creepy, gory and straight to VOD, it's not too bad, but it caters to a specific audience as well. For me, it wasn't fun, it was just eerily confusing, and the sad part is that I can't tell if that's a good thing or not. I'm gonna say it's passable for the type of film it is. Perhaps not for me, but not a total waste either.