Siren (2016) Movie Review

Director: Gregg Bishop

Writer: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski (Screenplay) David Bruckner (Characters)

Starring: Chase Williamson, Hannah Fierman, Justin Welborn, Hayes Mercure, Michael Aaron Milligan, Brittany S Hall

Plot: A bachelor party becomes a savage fight for survival when the groomsmen unwittingly unleash a fabled predator upon the festivities.


Tagline – No Man Can Resist Her. All Men Should.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Blood Filled Massacre

Story: Siren starts when four friends Jonah (Williams), Rand (Mercure), Mac (Milligan) and Elliot (McDowell) head to the Garden City for a bachelor party, which doesn’t go to complete plan, they end up in a secretive club run by Mr Nyx (Welborn), that feels as shady as it appears.

As the night starts to get exciting, Jonah gets taken to an exclusive dance, with a mysterious woman, which does see the guys needing to fight to survive from the people trying to control the siren Lily (Fierman).

Thoughts on Siren

Characters – Jonah is having his bachelor party, which he wants to keep simple, drinks and stripers, but things get out of hand, when Jonah looks to rescue an imprisoned dancer, only to find him running to survive from the owners of the club and the mysterious girl he releases hunting him down. Mac is the brother, who pushes the guys into a more eventful night, while Rand should be the best man and Elliot makes up the numbers. Lily is the siren, the mysterious creature whose voice can seduce any man, she is held captive in the club, able to kill whenever she wants, searching for Jonah, while wanting to escape her captivity.

PerformancesChase Williamson as the bachelor is strong in the leading role, with the whole bachelor party team doing their roles well through the film, Hannah Fierman commits to the siren role, showing the beauty and the horros she would need to bring to the role. With Justin Welborn bringing the over the top owner of the club to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a bachelor party that takes a turn when the group go to a secret club, one that is filled with new horrors they never imagined, after they release a girl that is a danger to everyone. This story is an extension of the V/H/S chapter ‘Amateur Night’, which does dive the story into a deeper message behind the siren creature that attacks the men. The story does bring us the idea that bachelor parties could get out of control, with where the characters end up going to private party where they have no idea what they are getting themselves into, while also hinting at a bigger world a creatures. It does play into the ideas of doing the right thing is important and learning to do the right thing will give you a better chance to surviving.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from what Lily will do to her victims, seducing them before butchering them, it doesn’t hold back on the blood or the savaged side of the attacks, with the mystery being hinted at more about what might be with the people involved with the clubs.

SettingsThe film uses the idea of a private club to show us just what could be held there, while the wider environments show us how the owner operates.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the films to show the savaged side of the attacks, along with the changes Lily shows, that are being covered up.


Scene of the Movie – Make a deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get to learn enough about the other creatures that could be in the world.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror that will bring plenty of blood, build on the short from V/H/S to give the character more detail and show us how a bachelor party can get out of control.

Overall: Fun Blood Soaked Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – M – The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Daniel Pyne, Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Richard Condon (Novel)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Jeffrey Wright, Pablo Schreiber, Anthony Mackie, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Jon Voight

Plot: In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.


Tagline – Everything is under control.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Manchurian Candidate starts as we see Ben Marco (Washington) leading his men in the war, one of the soldiers includes Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) who was awarded the medal of honour for his duty at war. Once out the war they have gone their separate ways, until Raymond’s mother Senator Eleanor Shaw (Streep) talks him into a vice president run, one that was a move nobody saw coming.

Ben doesn’t understand how this happened and wants to learn more about the incident in Kuwait, an incident which has left many of the soldiers with nightmares and more dangerously, being mind controlled.

Thoughts on The Manchurian Candidate

Characters – Ben Macro is the former army captain that saw some of his men fall in war, while many returned, he does live a normal life until one of his men becomes a surprise candidate for Vice President. Ben starts to look into the dreams and nightmares he once experienced and starts to learn of a bigger conspiracy of mind control being used to control the political situation. Raymond Shaw is the former soldier turned congressman whose mother had been planning his political career for decades, he will lined up to become Vice-President, a role he could do well in the future, but at the moment he is still learning, he has been put through a mind control program, being lined up to be a sleeper in the white house. Eleanor Shaw has built herself a reputation in government for being controversial, with her plan to put her son in the white house being the latest plan, an idea she has gone further than anyone ever imagined. We do see the other contenders, the former soldiers and military people that are being part of the bigger problem, with most not believing everything they are seeing from Ben.

PerformancesDenzel Washington in the leading role shows us why he is one of the greatest of all time once again, with a role which sees him carefully balance pain and paranoia through the whole film. Liev Schreiber does make for an excellent political figure that is running for office, he fits the political figure with ease, while also being deadly in the controlled side. Meryl Streep will always be the centre of attention does steal nearly ever scene in the film. The cast is strong throughout, with a few big names in early roles.

StoryThe story here follows a new surprise vice presidential candidate who has come from nowhere and ends up turning head including his own former captain who wants to look into the truth about how he got into this position so quickly, along with the nightmares his former squad have been suffering through. This is a remake of the popular movie, which does bring forward the idea of mind control off in a political world, showing how it could go unnoticed if the right people were put in the right place. We do see a lot of the film looking like a conspiracy theory that is mostly thrown out as nothing, before people do learn the shocking truth.

Mystery/Sci-Fi The mystery in the film is about whether the candidate will get elected and how far people will do to make this happen, along with the sci-fi elements being about mind control.

SettingsThe film does use the political settings that will make us understand the political play for everything.


Scene of the Movie – Election Party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – You do need to understand American politics to understand the roles we would be seeing.

Final Thoughts This is a strong remake that updates the original with enough to give us a fresh feeling story from start to finish, with excellent performances.



In the Heights (2021) Movie Review

In the Heights – For Dreamers Everywhere

 

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Quiara Alegria Hudes (Screenplay) Quiara Alegria Hudes, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Musical)

Starring: Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Olga Merediz, Jimmy Smits

Plot: A film version of the Broadway musical in which Usnavi, a sympathetic New York bodega owner, saves every penny every day as he imagines and sings about a better life.


Tagline – Turn Up the Volume on Your Dreams

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: In the Heights starts as we meet a bodega owner Usnavi (Ramos) who is a member of the Washington heights neighbourhood, where he knows everybody and dreams of a better life away back in the Dominican Republic. Nina Rosario (Grace) who is like a sister to Usnavi is also looking for a better life, one she has spent her whole life working towards, while Vanessa (Barrera) wants to follow her dream to move Downtown near the fashion district and Benny (Hawkins) who has been building his reputation in the area, where he is completely comfortable in.

The four find themselves at different crossroads in their lives, ones which will redefine their futures, be it together or alone, with music guiding them through their struggles, until the Blackout, which will change everything for them all.

Thoughts on In the Heights

Characters & Performances – Usnavi is telling the story of the summer in the heights to a group of children, he runs the bodega and dreams of returning home to the Dominican Republic, he is a confident man until Vanessa comes into his store, the woman of his dreams, the one person that could see him stay. Anthony Ramos is the first of many brilliant performances in this film. Vanessa works in beauty salon where she is dreams of her own life in a better neighbourhood, one where she could find herself walking into a fashion job, with her dreams looking dashed, she will find herself needing to regain her confidence after believing she might never leave the heights. Melissa Barrera gives us one of the star making performances in this film. Nina Rosario is like a little sister to Usnavi, her father has always worked to make sure she had a better future, something she has also worked hard on, only when it comes to her time to make the big decision on the next step, she finds herself stuck unsure of what to do next. Benny works for Nina’s father in dispatch, he is the most popular member of the team, he is the best friend to Usnavi and Nina’s love interest, while the pair do take the back burner to Usnavi and Vanessa, the pair do get the most unique and memorable dance routine. Leslie Grace and Corey Hawkins are both wonderful in the supporting roles too, with the whole cast being great to watch throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows four people who have different dreams that are all from the same neighbourhood, Washington Heights, where everyone works together to build the community as they will all need to make difficult decisions on what is next in their lives. This is a story that is filled with magic, that takes real life situations to show us just how difficult life decisions can become when they will see a major change coming to the people involved. The story will continue to give us the will they won’t they with both stories and will show us just how the decisions being made could well change everything for them. The story might be slightly longer than it needs to be, but otherwise a truly enjoyable story.

ThemesIn the Heights is a musical that is filled with catchy musical numbers, rhythmic dance routines and a heart that shows life in one of the districts in New York City, Washington Heights, which is the key part of the settings that will help us understand what the film is all about.

Final Thoughts In the Heights is what dreams are all about, knowing what is important to chance through a life we only get one outing in.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – L – Little Murder (2011)

Director: Predrag Antonijevic

Writer: Gerald Di Pego, Justin Di Pego (Screenplay) Gerald Di Pego, Janet Kapsin (Story)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Terrence Howard, Lake Bell, Deborah Ann Woll, Bokeem Woodbine, Noah Bean, Cary Elwes

 

Plot: In post-Katrina New Orleans, a disgraced detective encounters the ghost of a murdered woman who wants to help him identify her killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Crime Story

 

Story: Little Murder starts as we see what caused the disgraced detective Ben Chaney (Lucas) to be blacklisted by his department, this is shown by the fact the only work he can get it working for detective Lipp (Woodbine) spying on a potential suspect Drag ‘Donkey’ Hammerman (Howard).

Continuing to ruin his reputation Ben find himself talking to a ghost of a murderer victim Corey (Bell) who wants Ben to solve her murder. Failing to cover his own case Ben finds himself getting deeper into the Corey case as he tries to retrace her final chapters.

 

Thoughts on Little Murder

 

Characters/PerformanceBen Chaney is a disgraced detective that gets a surveillance case which turns into a chance for this alcoholic detective to redeem himself as he tries to help solve the murder case which is believed to be closed. Corey is the ghost that is visiting Ben, she has been murdered and wants to clear her brother’s name of the murder. Drag is the man Ben is meant to be watching but the two become respectful friends during the time together. The rest of the cast fills up the suspect list, the owner of the country club, the boyfriend, the best friend and the detective covering a milling spree through the city.

Performance wise, Josh Lucas is fine but does struggle to be the completely leading man for this film. Terrence Howard brings his style to the role which is mostly a smaller supporting one. Lake Bell does make for a good ghostly figure visiting, Cary Elwes also does well through this film.

StoryThis is a story about one cop needing to find his respect after being involved in a accidental shooting, it starts off by looking at a serial killer going around New Orleans which sounds interesting but soon it turns into a who dun it revolving around a ghost wanting to know who killed them. I am going to be honest, I was disappointed here, I thought we were getting a serial killer tracking film instead we get a story which could have been an episode of any cop show and not the best at that.

Crime/ThrillerThere is a crime to be solved while also having a serial killer on the loss but for some reason we are never following just one of these stories enough to care.

SettingsNew Orleans does make for a wonderful setting because it plays into the tones through the movie which bring us into the story when we are not getting bored of the lack of storytelling.

Final ThoughtsThis is a largely disappointing film that lacks the true story needed in this film, we get a mish mash going on throughout.

 

Overall: Disappointing crime thriller

Rating