Wounds (2019) Movie Review

Director: Babak Anvari

Writer: Babak Anvari (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman, Christin Rankins, Brad William Henke

Plot: Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.


Tagline – Don’t call it in.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wait What?

Story: Wounds starts like most nights in Rosie’s bar, bartender Will (Hammer) has the locals including Alicia (Beetz) her boyfriend Jeffrey (Glusman) and rig worker Eric (Henke) who isn’t afraid to get a little bit rough at times, when a fight gets out of hand, the college students there, left leaving a phone behind, which Will tries to let them know about, only to get a strange string of messages.

What Will discovers on the phone will leave him shocked and needing to find the truth about what he finds on the phone, with his partner Carrie (Johnson) not trusting a single thing he is doing.

Thoughts on Wounds

Characters – Will is a bartender who is generally quite relaxed about what happens in the bar, he knows tricks which will keep people happy, he tries to give himself the cool persona in the bar, outside the bar he is cheating on his girlfriend, which has made his relationship toxic. Will discovers a phone left behind at the bar, which sees him dive into the rabbit hole trying to learn about what the message being sent is really about, which soon sees him start to lose his mind with what he is seeing. Carrie is the girlfriend of Will’s, she is studying at the moment and doesn’t trust Will’s behaviour even before the phone appears. Alicia is one of the locals in the bar, she does have a thing with Will on the side, which does make it difficult when she is around with her boyfriend. Jeffrey is the new boyfriend of Alicia’s that does have a similar path as Will, when it comes to the education side of things, trying to be a tougher man than he is.

PerformancesArmie Hammer is the strongest of the performers in this film, he does handle the calmer sides with ease, only when it comes to losing his mind, it seems safe over stronger, Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz both feel mostly wasted in their roles where they do the best they can without getting much out of their characters. Most of the rest of the cast struggle to get much more out of their characters.

StoryThe story here follows a bartender that finds a phone left behind at the bar which sees him starting to get strange message and experiencing unusually events, which sees his life spiralling out of control. This does start strongly because seeing the cool bartender that finds a horror video on the phone adds plenty of mystery to what is going on. The problems with the story comes from how it ends, because I don’t think it really ended in anyway, we do get to see a couple of looks at serious issues in life, but we don’t follow through with them on a strong enough level. This story will end up leaving you feel flat without anything seeming to finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does have a lot of dread through the film, but it just doesn’t get to the levels where it follows through, with the mystery being interesting to see, only never feeling like it got solved.

SettingsThe film uses the New Orleans backdrop which is one of best horror locations, only it doesn’t seems to use this to the full levels.

Special EffectsThe effects used are mostly to bring the number of bugs to the scenes, which don’t always look that good to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The video clip does give us a shock.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is really hard to read the text messages.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that seems to miss the vital part of the film, the conclusion which just seems to just end without wrapping anything up, despite giving us an interesting mystery to start with.

Overall: Falls Flat.

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson (Screenplay)

Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Grahan Greene, Ray Wise, Allegra Carpenter

 

Plot: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Creature Feature

 

Story: Unnatural starts with a global warming warning and something going wrong at a research lab, we go onto meet Martin (Remar) who has bought a photographer and his models to the snow filled location in Alaskan for a photoshoot. We also get the warning of polar bears create by the locals who use them as a warning, or in this case a myth.

When a creature eats one of the models and a guide, Martin must protect the remaining members of the photoshoot including photographer Brooking (Carlson) and stranger Dr Hanna Lindval (Fenn) from the threat outside, a mutated polar bear.

 

Thoughts on Unnatural

 

Characters – Martin is the expert in the area where the photoshoot takes place, he knows the wildlife and how to deal with any threats that come his way and must protect the people who are not used to the threat. Dr Lindval was part of the research team that created the polar bear, she is desperate to survive once it is free but does know more than she is letting on. Brooking in the photographer on the shoot, he does lack the guts to defend himself from the threat. We also have the models but they are here to look pretty through the terror.

PerformanceJames Remar is clearly the biggest draw in this film and he is good without being his best, when you look into the other performance we get the mystery from Fenn and the annoying wimpy guy from Carlson hitting the marks we are expecting to see in the film like this.

StoryGroup of people in Alaska with no escape must rely on one expert to keep them safe against an unknown creature for a set amount of days, well this is easy enough to go with and stops a lot of pointless discussion about trying to get help when there isn’t any, we also have the characters getting picked off in the random order like you would expect which is fine too.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly running from the attacks from the creature which isn’t the most impressive either.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight as we have the group trapped with nowhere to run for the 3 days before the next plan arrives.

Special EffectsThe effects look mostly practical as we barely get to see the monster apart from in the shadows.

Scene of the Movie – The first attack is a fun moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable creature feature that tries to ask bigger questions but doesn’t seem to want to try and answer them.

 

Overall: Not one of the best.

Rating

 

 

Echoes of Fear (2019) Movie Review

Director: Brian Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Writer: Brian Avenet-Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Trista Robinson, Hannah Race, Paul Chirico, Marshal Hilton, Elif Savas, Danilo Di Julio, Ian Heath

Plot: After inheriting her grandfather’s house, a young woman must confront the mystery of his sudden death and the evil that hides inside.


Tagline – Evil hides inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderful Mystery Horror

Story: Echoes of Fear starts when Alisa (Robinson) inherits her grandfather’s house after his sudden death, she has little option than to prepare it for sale, which sees her move in to get his done, joined by her boyfriend Brandon (Chirico) the two start the preparations.

With Alisa only getting fleeting visits from Brandon and her friend Steph (Race) she starts to experiencing haunting, which sees her looking back through the diary of her grandfather to learn the truth about the house.

Thoughts on Echoes of Fear

Characters – Alisa sees her last family die suddenly, she must head back to the house where she was raised to decide what to do with it next in what seems like a routine, tidy up and sale plan. Her plans are thrown off when she starts hearing noises, suffering nightmares and experiencing visions, which leads to her wanting to learn the truth, going through the house to unlock the truth, which each clue becoming more disturbing for her. Steph is the best friend that can visit at times and will help her with the investigation. Brandon is the boyfriend who is happy to help plan the changes, looking for a quick sell and start of a new life. David is the neighbour that does offer a few answers and is willing to help Alisa with any problems.

PerformancesTrista Robinson is the star of the show, she is the one getting haunted, trying to solve the problems she is experiencing and you believe every moment she is going through. Nobody else is getting too much outside the simple to do, with none of them doing anything wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a relative that inherits a home and soon starts getting haunted by the ghosts of the house, leading her to try and solve the situation. This is a story that does keep us wondering what is going on with us learning more just as Alisa does, which is why this story works so well, because it enters the most interesting sub-genre of horror, with the haunting helping unlock the mystery. We could have a couple of questionable moments including a bit of miss-direction when it comes to what could be going on, this doesn’t really add up, but is nice to guide us away from the truth. This story does try to break certain rules created and does a wonderful job at this too, but lets just ask, why is there a sniffer mouse?

HorrorThe horror side of the film does use a couple of ideas, with the haunting being the biggest moments, while others come off more disturbing by the end.

SettingsThe film does keep most of the action inside the house, being a location, that Alisa would know, but hasn’t been to in a while, with he changes adding to the horror of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to create certain moments of horror, which most coming in the haunting moments.


Scene of the Movie – The final 20 minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sniffer mouse is very strange.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does keep us guessing, it has a disturbing outcome with the haunting being the highlight of the scares.

Overall: Horror with Plenty of Scares.

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – T – Tank 432 (2015)

Director: Nick Gillespie

Writer: Nick Gillespie (Screenplay)

Starring: Rupert Evans, Steve Garry, Deirdre Mullins, Michael Smiley, Gordon Kennedy

 

Plot: A team of mercenaries confront nightmarish visions when they become trapped inside an armoured personnel carrier.


Tagline –  There’s no turning back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fails to Deliver

 

Story: Tank 432 starts as we follow army squad Reeves (Evans), Gantz (Garry), Karlsson (Mullins), Capper (Smiley), Smith (Kennedy) and Evans (Meeten) as they are alluding an unknown enemy, in an unknown woodland area, where they come across the last squad while coming down with a sickness.

When the unit discovers an armoured vehicle they use it for shelter from the approaching enemy but also find themselves locked in the vehicle where they discover they may have been infected by something because they all start seeing nightmare visions.

 

Thoughts on Tank 432

 

Characters – Reeves is one of the younger members of the unit, he seems like the newest member often making rookie mistakes in the eyes of other members of the unit. Capper is the injured member of the unit, he is left to defend for himself as the unit needs to move out quickly. Karlsson is the medic in the unit needing to take care of the injuries to Capper and the mental state of the random girl they find. The soldier all hit the generics of what you expect without giving too much about their lives outside of the unit away.

PerformancesThe performances across the board are good enough for the film, with most of the cast trapped inside the tank it doesn’t give them much to do other than sit around talk and searching for answers.

StoryThe story follows the unit as they look to survive from an unknown enemy, this is where a lot of this films story falls apart because, we don’t know their mission, where it is or what they are running from. It spends too long inside the tank trying to figure out a way out without any threat coming from the outside, for this film to hit the marks we needed to see more of the nightmare effects of whatever is meant to be going on which would explain the fear they are facing but not enough is revealed until the final act.

Action/HorrorThe action isn’t as heavy as we would like it too be, we have random shooting and a driving sequence the rest is waiting for something to happen. The horror is there just not as much as we would like it to be, the moments of the vision offer something but don’t deliver in the final punch.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the vehicle, which I can accept being good for a confined setting waiting for an enemy but we don’t see the enemy do anything against them.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but the film doesn’t turn to them, which is a good thing.


Scene of the Movie –
Capper’s return.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough happens.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that disappoints in the most part, it doesn’t hit the levels it could and we are left wondering just where the film was meant to be going for the most part.

 

Overall: Disappoint horror that misses the chances it had.

Rating