Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Julia X (2011)

logoDirector: P.J. Pettiette

Writer: Matt Cunningham (Screenplay) P.J. Pettiette (Story)

Starring: Valerie Azlynn, Kevin Sorbo, Alicia Leigh Willis, Joel David Moore, Ving Rhames, Gregg Brazzel

 

Plot: Meeting a man on the Internet, Julia decides to see him in person, only to get abducted and branded with the letter “x” by that guy. A game of cat and mouse follows, but the story has an unexpected twist.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Deadliest Battle of the Sexes

 

Story: Julia X starts by strangers who have met on the internet meet up for the first time Julia (Azlynn) leaves the stranger (Sorbo) hanging but she is in for a big surprise when the stranger just so happens to be a serial killer who has been meeting woman on the internet and abducting before killing them. The Stranger brands his victims with an X before taking the victims to his next location.

Julia tries her best to escape his clutches and for a serial killer he makes a lot of sloppy mistakes. Julia keeps escaping and going on the run but the Stranger remains calm each time as he finds her in what is turning into a cat and mouse chase. When a surprise twist in events shows Julia working with Jessica (Willis) and has been trying to trap men who mistreat women for their own devilish revenge plans.

Jessica always kept in the shadows on Julia’s ways bring in her own bait Sam (Moore), this displeases Julia because it breaks the rules of picking someone close to home and you can’t take a local. After the Stranger escapes it pretty much becomes a freefall between the girls and him to who will survive.

Julia X poses the idea of serial killer versus serial killer, which on paper is fine  but it goes wrong because both serial killers don’t release they are hunting serial killers until it is too late. The story jumps between who is most likely to survive as well as taking its time to shown Julia and Jessica’s motives for doing what they do. It is easy to follow and the twists seem clear once you have read the basic description of the film so don’t expect any surprises. The flow also feels slightly slow and as for the final fight the clichéd jokes about the opposite sex get boring quickly. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Valerie Azlynn: Julia starting off as a victim of a serial killer it soon becomes apparent that she has targeted this man for her own ideas of revenge. Valerie does a solid job and looks the part of the femme fatale. (6/10)

 

Kevin Sorbo: The Stranger is a serial killer who brands all his victims with an X but it turns out that Julia isn’t going to just be another victim of his. Kevin does a solid job as the killer but struggles to convince because of the poor decisions he makes early on. (5/10)

 

Alicia Leigh Willis: Jessica sister who gets fed up of being just the partner in the kills, she takes her own kill but breaks the rules by picking a local. Alicia does a solid job as the young killer in the making. (5/10)

 

Support Cast: Julia X really doesn’t have much of a supporting cast with only two other actors making an appearance and not for long we don’t really need a supporting cast though.

 

Director Review: P.J. Pettiette – P.J. does a solid job with this but it does feel like it should have had more blood and gore or more tension. (5/10)

 

Horror: Julia X gets lost between torture porn ideas in a slasher type environment without using either strength. (4/10)

Thriller: Julia X doesn’t pull you in like it should. (4/10)

Settings: Julia X keeps the settings easy with everywhere seemingly abandoned, but isolated which is always good for horror. (8/10)

Suggestion: Julia X is a late night TV experience only, I don’t see people going on of their way to see it but if it’s on try it. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Comic tone between Julia and the Stranger.

Worst Part: Not enough potential twists.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: IT is left open for one but I doubt it.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

Overall: This pretty much is extreme dating to say the least.

Rating 51

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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