Guillermo Del Toro Weekend – The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

logoDirector: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, David Munoz (Screenplay)

Starring: Fernando Tielve, Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Inigo Garces, Irene Visedo, Junio Valverde

Plot: After Carlos, a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War, arrives at an ominous boy’s orphanage he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Ghost Story

Story: The Devil’s Backbone starts with the death of a young boy Santi (Valverde) whose body get dumped by the boy who finds him. We move to see Carlos (Tielve) being taken to an orphanage while his father goes off to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It doesn’t take long fr Carlos to see the ghost of Santi but while investigating Carlos makes friends with a couple of boys in the orphanage along with running into the bully Jaime (Garces).

When Santi gives Carlos a warning that many people will die Carlos finds himself in trouble with the janitor as we learn of Dr Casares (Luppi) smart ways of working out which children are working together. Once Carlos has proven he can be trusted he befriends the children as he learns about the adults as well as what is meant to have happened to Santi. All this as the war starts to move closer to the orphanage putting everyone’s life in danger.santi

The Devil’s Backbone is a film that manages to mix a ghost story, heist and war film genres that make each scene different without forgetting the previous scene. I love the ghost story element because it fits into my favourite idea of haunting to solve or warn. The heist shows how far one man will go to get money and the war side gives the film the tension that something terrible could happen. This is a must for all horror fans and is easily one of the best ghost stories you will see. (9/10)

Actor Review

Fernando Tielve: Carlos is the young boy dropped of at the orphanage as the war continues, he has to deal with normal school issues while being haunted by the ghost of a former student trying to give him a warning about what will happen at the orphanage. Fernando does a good job in the leading role dealing with all of the tragedy of war and being stuck in an orphanage. (8/10)

Federico Luppi: Dr Casares is the man at the orphanage who looks after the student medical side but is also the person the principal turns to when it comes to solving problems the boys could have started. He treats the boys well and shows them all respect and all he asks it to see it in return. Federico does a good job in this wise man supporting role. (7/10)

Marisa Paredes: Carman is the principal at the orphanage that knows how much of a struggle having al of these boys will be and she leaves for her own nightmares of when she lost her leg. Marisa gives a good performance in the authority role without being too strict. (7/10)

Irene Visedo: Conchita is the attractive maid working at the orphanage that is in a relationship with Jacinto but deep down she is still very young at heart and not ready to be part of his evil plan. Irene does make for a good supporting character and shows a strong side by the end of the film. (7/10)

Eduardo Noriega: Jacinto is the janitor of the orphanage but he is trying to rob the safe, when things get out of hand he is responsible for many of the children’s deaths but he just won’t give up on getting his money. Eduardo is a great villain of the piece who is only out for himself as the story unfold, he actually makes you hate him which is what a lot of villains can’t do. (8/10)

Inigo Garces: Jaime is the bully to start with but soon becomes good friends with Carlos, he was with Santi when he was killed and knows who didn’t it but it too scared to speak up about who did it. He gets a chance to make up for his mistakes in the final act as he can help Santi’s spirit finally rest. Inigo does a good job in this role showing mature side even though he is still young at heart. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Devil’s Backbone has a supporting cast that includes the rest of the people inside the orphanage, they don’t get many lines but are important to the final outcome.

Director Review: Guillermo del ToroGuillermo give us a masterpiece in the ghost film genre that will leave you shocked by the final moment. (10/10)

Horror: The Devil’s Backbone doesn’t hit the full blown scares but when you first see Santi you will be scared. (8/10)

Settings: The Devil’s Backbone keeps most of the setting inside the orphanage which shows how isolated the children are from the rest of the world. (10/10)
Special Effects: The Devil’s Backbone uses great effects to create a new looking ghost which hasn’t been repeated since. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Devil’s Backbone is one for all the horror fans out there to watch, I do feel even the none horror fans will enjoy this. (Watch)

Best Part: The story is brilliant.

Worst Part: Won’t appeal to the subtitle haters out there.

Scariest Scene: Peeping through the key hole.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: What is a ghost?

Trivia: Described by Guillermo del Toro as being a sibling film to Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) (this being the masculine “brother” film, and Pan’s as the feminine “sister” film).

Overall: Brilliant, Magnificent just how many words can I use to describe this?

Rating 90

Halloween Kingathon – Salem’s Lot (1979)

Banner-1logoDirector: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Paul Monash (Screenplay) Stephen King (Story)

Starring: David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Julie Cobb, Elisha Cook Jr.

Plot: Vampires are invading a small New England town. It’s up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Just too Long

Story: Salem’s Lot starts in the small town of Salem’s Lot where visitor and author Ben Mears (Soul) is looking to stay. The town has a mystery to it with Ben trying to figure out what is happening around a house on the edge of town but it doesn’t take long for Ben to make a new friend in Susan (Bedelia). The house in question is owned by Richard K Straker (Mason) who goes on trips and upon his latest trip he is having a delivery being handled by Larry Crockett (Willard).

As each nightfalls vampire like creature start haunting the town and people start disappearing leaving it up to Ben to lead the investigation into what is going on.

Salem’s Lot is one of those alternative vampire films it pushes the idea to become an American centred story too, because most vampire films have always seemed to have a European location. I like how the idea was to have a town taken over by the vampires which I do believe other modern vampire films have taken to the next level again. My big problem with this is the length of the story because it just seems to go on and on. In the end this was a landmark at the time horror film that seems to have got forgotten in the modern cinema. (7/10)

Actor Review

David Soul: Ben Mears is the author who has come to the back to his home town but once he returns strange things start happening leading him to start to investigate what is happening to the people in the town. David does a solid job here but I am never convinced with his performance. (6/10)

James Mason: Richard K Straker is the mysterious man who comes to the town to start his new business but when people start going missing he becomes the prime suspect but just what is he hiding? James makes for a good villainous role always thinking he is one step ahead of the rest. (6/10)

Support Cast: Salem’s Lot has a large supporting cast that all seem to be the victims of the vampires in all their own ways as the story decides to let them become the victims.

Director Review: Tobe Hooper Tobe brings his vision of the vampires to this film and each built up brings the scares needed. (7/10)

Horror: Salem’s Lot builds up tension built up horror through each moment the vampires come for their latest victims. (7/10)

Settings: Salem’s Lot uses the small town for the horror which works because they are not sure what is happening to the friends and loved ones. (8/10)

Suggestion: Salem’s Lot is one for all the horror fans out there but make sure you leave enough time if you want to watch all at once. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Vampire creatures.

Worst Part: Too long.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

Awards: Nominated for 3 Prime Time Emmys.

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: Around 3 Hours

Tagline:  Iconic terror from the No 1 bestselling writer.

Overall: Well constructed horror mini series.

Rating 70

New Releases – 9th October 2015

SicariosicarioAn idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

My Guess for Rating – 90%
My Anticipation Rating – 90%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes

The Walk walk The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

My Guess for Rating – 80%
My Anticipation Rating – 85%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Regression regressionA father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Movie Reviews 101 Pick of the Week – Sciario

2015 Watched List Part 16

Over the past year I have seen an incredible amount of films and I have decided to share with you all which ones I have seen in what order. I am going to be doing these in groups of ten, where I will pick my favourite of the bunch and the worst of the bunch.

So without further ramblings here we go with 161 – 170:

1. The Eye logo This is the original which follows a blind woman who gets an eye transplant which leads to her getting vision of a previous life. This falls into the ghost investigation style films which you all know I am a huge fan off.

2. Escape From New York logo This is the John Carpenter Classic which follows Snake as he has to enter into a prison state of Manhattan Island to retrieve the President after his plane gets shot down. This is a brilliant 80’s film that will stick long in the memory.

3. Escape From the Bronx logo Follow the success of New York we get to see a low budget exploitation style of set in the Bronx. I would say this is good for what it is but be careful what you are going into watching.

4. Pulselogo The American version of this film which follows a group of people who start getting haunted by the ghosts coming through technology to literally suck the life out of the people. I did like this remake I found some of the kills creative but I will be seeing the original and judging again.

5. Exodus Gods and Kings logo A biblical story that should be easy to watch, nope, well I did watch this drunk and it was so boring.

6. Darkness logo A horror film starring Anna Paquin that isn’t the most memorable because I have forgotten what it was about.

7. Unbroken logoA slow moving true story about one man’s quest to survive in slave camps during World War II. I felt this could have been a lot better but still think Jack O’Connell was brilliant in the leading role.

8. Buffalo Soldiers logo Black comedy look a war time life follow one man as he tries to make as much money as possible by doing as little as possible during the conflict.

9. It Follows logo When a young woman has a sexual encounter she finds out that something is after her and will kill her if she doesn’t pass it on. This is easily the best horror film this year and I think people will be talking about this film for years to come.

10. Trick r Treat logi A series of Halloween stories that all come together in one night. These stories are an absolute delight that should be enjoyed by all.

The Best – IT Follows

The Worst – Exodus Gods and Kings

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Finders Keepers (2014)

logoDirector: Alexander Yellen

Writer: Peter Sullivan (Screenplay) Jeffrey Schneck, Peter Sullivan (Story)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Kylie Rogers, Tobin Bell, Mark DeCarlo, Joseph Gatt, Mary Pat Gleason, Patrick Muldoon


Plot: A divorced mother of one is thrown into turmoil when her young daughter becomes obsessed with an evil doll left behind by the previous occupants of their new home.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Careful What You Play With


Story: Finders Keepers starts with the police responding to an emergency call and searching the house. What the officers find are two dead bodies and noises from upstairs and like good cops they investigate before getting back up, they continue to find bodies in the house. It becomes apparent the suspect is a possessed youngest member of the family who kills the officers.

Move forward 5 years and we meet single mum Alyson Simon (Pressly) and her young daughter Claire (Rogers) moving into the same house. Having moved in the house Claire finds an old doll called Lilith that she wants to keep. It doesn’t take long before Claire starts acting strange and struggles to fit in, but much worrying for Alyson Claire starts to act out strangely and dangerously. Alyson takes Claire to see a Doctor Freeman (Bell) to try and understand what is going on. Alyson decides to do some research into the history of the home and finds out the truth about the family before and finding out that her family is now in danger.

Finders Keepers capitalizes on the doll obsession going through the horror world and does end up out shining certain other films Annabelle. The film isn’t afraid to kill other characters which a lot of horror film do like to hold back on. My biggest question had to be not really knowing what or who the killer was, was it the doll, was it the kid possessed or something else, we never really see just one and everything hints at one only to make it difficult for it to have been that person. being a made for television film I would say this is pretty solid though and does enough to keep the audience involved in wondering what will happen next. (6/10)


Actor Review


Jaime Pressly: Alyson Simon is the newly separated mother who takes her daughter to a new home, the only problem is the new home is one where a murder took place and the house hasn’t finished pilling up the bodies because it takes over her daughter. Jaime does a solid job in the role but doesn’t shine to the level the character needs to. (6/10)


Tobin Bell: Doctor Freeman is the man assigned with trying to understand what has happened to Claire but is struggling to understand. Tobin really is wasted in this role because he really is an icon in horror. (4/10)


Kylie Rogers: Claire Simons is the daughter in the house that starts to get taken over by the doll inside the house, which will bring out the evil inside her. Kylie does a good job as the trouble little girl giving us a kid to actually be scared off. (7/10)


Patrick Muldoon: Jonathan Simon is the father who wants to protect her daughter even if it means letting his relationship go once and for all. Patrick does a solid job but doesn’t get involved until too late in the film. (6/10)


Support Cast: Finders Keepers is filled with characters who try to help out but most of them end up becoming the victims.


Director Review: Alexander Yellen – Alexander does a solid job directing a low budget horror thriller that does have a few good scares here and there. (6/10)


Horror: Finders Keepers takes advantage of the doll obsession in horror giving us the idea of not just an evil doll but possession of a young child, both these make for good horror aspects. (7/10)

Thriller: Finders Keepers keeps us guessing to who will die and in what way until the very end. (7/10)

Settings: Finders Keepers keeps the settings very easy to follow we have the new home with a past which always seems to work in horror as it becomes the catalyst to what happens. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Finders Keepers has the special effects that you would expect form the budget but it really doesn’t need the use for them until the end of the film. (7/10)

Suggestion: Finders Keepers is one to try and I think the horror fans will enjoy it. (Horror Fans Enjoy)


Best Part: Creepy doll.

Worst Part: Not fully knowing who or what is doing the killing.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open to one but I doubt it.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Annabelle


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tagline: No soul is safe


Overall: Finders Keepers is an enjoyable horror that won’t shock everyone but does have solid scares throughout.

Rating 55

Bully (2015)

logoDirector: Stephen Gaffney

Writer: Stephen Gaffney (Screenplay)

Starring: Ciaran McCabe, Kieran O’Reilly, James Ward, Aislinn Ni Uallachain, Goerge Bracebridge, Chelsea O’Connor

Plot: Karl, a sixth year student preparing to sit his Leaving Cert exams, becomes the target of a gang of bullies. With no support from his family and no friends to turn to, Karl falls victim to the psychological manipulation of a school teacher and soon turns to social media as a form of escapism where he develops an online friendship with a woman.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Bravely Disturbing Drama

Story: Bully starts Dublin, Ireland 2012 where we meet a self harming Karl (McCabe) who is bullied at school and fails to get help from his parents. Fallon (O’Reilly) tries to push Karl into standing up for himself while making inappropriate movements towards him.

With everything getting too much social media has his bullying on but a mysterious lady Ruby (Ni Uallachain) contacts him. Karl also gets involved with Christina (O’Connor) who is closer to his age but Ruby won’t leave him alone. The problems building up in Karl’s life he is forced to see a therapist Eoin (Mason) who puts him on antidepressants.

Everything mixing together and only having Ruby to talk to leads to her pushing Karl into decision which will leave Karl’s future in question but how far can he really go.

Bully starts off like you would expect a film centred around a lone victim of bully, with no where to go or no one to turn to, which is all good because it creates Karl’s mindset for us. What the story doesn’t prepare us for is the shocking final act which you won’t see coming in any direction. I will always praise a story that shocks us because we do get so many repetitive story lines out there and this will shock you.

Actor Review

Ciaran McCabe: Karl is our victim of bullying from a group of guys from school, he starts self harming and being taken advantage of by a teacher, he finds friendship online with an older woman while being bought out of his own shell by a new love interest Christina. When things fall apart Karl is left to make a decision with will be questionable thanks to Ruby pushing him in that direction. Ciaran gives us a great performance and shows that he could be a name to look out for in the future.

Kieran O’Reilly: Fallon is a teacher who is taking advantage of Karl scaring him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. Kieran gives a good performance as the teacher who is will hope to get away with what he does.

Aislinn Ni Uallachain: Ruby is the woman who talks to Karl when he is feeling down before starting to take over his life making him act out of character. Aislinn gives a good performance in this role because she plays seductress really well.

George Bracebridge: Frank is Karl’s father who doesn’t want to take anything from his son and doesn’t understand the troubles he is going through, he is short tempered and a former soldier. George gives a good performance in this role showing how difficult it is for parent to deal with troubles their children are having.

Support Cast: Bully has a supporting cast that includes Karl’s concerned mother, other students from school and the bully who pushes Karl into the decision he finally takes.

Director Review: Stephen GaffneyStephen gives us a drama that starts off like you would expect but will leave you shocked by the end of the film.

Drama: Bully shows the effects of bullying and just where it can leave a victim with no where to turn.

Settings: Bully keeps the settings simple showing that the victim will become isolated to few location due to the effects.

Suggestion: Bully is one to check out it really is something fresh when you see where it all goes. (Watch)

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: Seeing the victim suffer.

Believability: The bullying side of the story is a very real problem but what follows is an extreme of it all.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Overall: Drama that will leave you wondering just how far bullying can really go


Halloween Kingathon – Tommyknockers (1993) From Early Morning Horror

Banner-2Early Morning Horror Reviews is written by Whorer Fan, usually within the blue hours of the morning, when everything is quiet and eerie and there is no sunshine to ruin the mood. Her reviews are short, sarcastic, and sometimes very careful to make fun of as many painful details as possible. She enjoys good-bad horror films the most, collecting Halloween costumes and items, and having theme nights. She is afraid of spiders and dummies/ marionettes. See more here

Tommyknockers (1993)
Score: three out of five Stephen King appearances
TV Mini-Series? YUP (181 min)
My mom is a Stephen King novel lover, and out of all the choices available to me, lined up on the wall in my alternate playroom, I chose Tommyknockers to read as my first horror novel. I have no idea why, I think I liked the green on the cover. I did not, however, enjoy the green in the movie as much, though it was probably pretty cool at the time. There are green names, green beams coming from pens and lipsticks, green glow everywhere, and it got to the point where I was seeing red. The acting was mediocre at best but I loved how dramatic the main woman was. And Jimmy Smitt. That’s all that needs to be said. Just his name. Even though this was an S.K. miniseries such as It, this one wasn’t nearly as long, and it’s unintentionally ridiculous, so that’s always a bonus. It’s basically about a woman who becomes obsessed with digging up alien Lego in the forest. Soon the whole town joins in the fun, and the only one who can stop this madness is our good friend, Jimmy.

Halloween Kingathon – The Tommyknockers (1993)

ogoDirector: John Power

Writer: Lawrence D Cohen (teleplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jimmy Smits, Marg Helgenberger, John Ashton, Allyce Beasley, Robert Carradine, Joanna Cassidy, Annie Corley, Cliff De Young

Plot: A buried UFO slowly turns local inhabitants into gizmo-building alien mutates.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Engaging Mini Series

Story: The Tommyknockers starts in the small town we follow couple Gard (Smits) and Bobbi (Helgenberger). We continue to get introduced to the rest of the town with all their strengths and weaknesses, before Bobbi finds a strange object in the woods. With Gard away, Bobbi deals with what she found in the woods which starts to show a glowing goo. We go through the personal issues between Gard and Bobbi along with meeting a blossoming romance between Trooper Butch (Ashton) & Sheriff Merrill (Cassidy).

We also meet the rest of the town who are all getting their visits from the aliens living in the woods. As the residents of the town start evolving into learn how to invent new ideas to make the work easier.

As one little boy disappears and other residents end up hurting themselves it is up to the Butch and Gard to stop the invasion of the Tommyknockers.

The Tommyknockers is one of the traditional Stephen King adaptation where a small town gets a horror element placed in and they have to deal with the situation, this time is is an alien species buried in the woods. I was amazed that even with the three hour run time this never seemed to get boring which usually is the problem with the lengths. The story keeps you guessing from start to finish about what happens even if the characters end up coming off very generic for a King story. I do think this offers something new on the invasion angle because it plays out the idea that the aliens were here first. (7/10)

Actor Review

Jimmy Smits: Jim Gard Gardner is the alcoholic poet who has been struggling to produce any recent work, he returns home to his partner Bobbi where he helps uncover a mysterious structure on their land, when they finally figure out what is going on he must stop the invasion before it is too late. Jimmy does a good job in the leading role. (7/10)

Marg Helgenberger: Roberta Bobbi Anderson is the lady who first discovers the structure in the woods before digging it up and becoming the leader of the alien community that is slowly taking over the town. Marg does a good job in this role. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Tommyknockers has a very generic small town supporting cast that all either side with Gard or against him.

Director Review: John PowerJohn does a good job directing this mini series that keeps us interested from start to finish. (7/10)

Horror: The Tommyknockers has the alien invasion angle used for the horror idea which also has elements of the Village of the Damned. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: The Tommyknockers uses the aliens for the sci-fi angle along with the taking over the people of the small town. (7/10)

Settings: The Tommyknockers uses the small town setting where the events happen which ends up being perfect for the idea that shows one small town is falling apart. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Tommyknockers is one for all the King fans to watch, it is broken into two parts which also lightens the watching. (King Watch)

Best Part: The alien angle.

Worst Part: Slightly generic supporting characters.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $12 Million

Runtime: 3 Hours

Tagline: Something wonderful is happening in Haven. Pray it doesn’t happen to you.

Trivia: According to author Stephen King The Tommyknockers is an allegory for his own personal battles with substance abuse. The character of Jim Gardener is largely based upon King himself.

Overall: Great mini series that keeps us guessing until the final moments.

Rating 75

Top 10 Favourite Matt Damon Roles

Matt Damon has become on of the biggest names in Hollywood today he has 72 credits to his name and one Oscar win for writing though he has been nominated for two acting Oscars but has yet to take home the trophy. I simply couldn’t pick just five favourite performances so I went with top 10.

10. Rudy Baylor – The Rainmaker (1997)rainmaker

This John Grisham adaptation follows a young lawyer who goes against an insurance company. This early role when Grisham films were very popular is one people ignore but rally is a special one.

9. Loki – Dogma (1998)dogma

Loki along with his best friend and fellow fallen angel Bartleby go a mission to go and re-enter heaven which could bring about the next apocalypse.

8. David Norris – The Adjustment Bureau (2011)adjustment

David lives a normal life while running for political office but when he meets a girl who isn’t part of his planned future he discovers that there is a team of people planning his future and every move he makes. I love this sci-fi because it question whether things could be real or not.

7. SPC Ilario – Courage Under Fire (1996)courage under fire

This very early role showed just how far Matt would go for a look in a role even if it is just a supporting role.

6. Colin Sullivan – The Departed (2006)departd

Colin is the undercover mole inside the FBI working for the mobster against Billy on the other side of the fence. Matt gives a great performance and compared to the rest of the cast is easily one of the better performers in the film.

5. Tom Ripley – The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)ripley

This all star cast follows Tom Ripley as he continues to use his life of fraud while showing a darker side throughout the film hidden behind his charm.

4. Jason Bourne – Bourne Trilogybourne

Jason is the trained spy who has lost his memory and as he looks to learn about himself he learns that he has been targeted for elimination leaving him to use all his skills to out smart his enemies.

3. Linus Caldwell – Ocean’s Trilogylinus

Linus is the pickpocket who joins Danny Ocean’s team in a string of heists. I really enjoy this role because it ends up stealing the film next to the bigger stars.

2. Mike McDermott – Rounders (1998)rounders

As a poker fan I enjoy this role as Mike a skilled poker player has to go back into the underworld to help his best friend pay off his debts from ruthless poker player.

1. Will Hunting – Good Will Hunting (1997)hunting

Will is the genius working basic jobs until he gets inspired but college professor Sean Maguire and his best friend Chuckie. This is one of the best films of the year of release and all the Oscar it won shows why.