Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – 247°F

ogoDirector: Levan Bakhia, Beqa Jguburia

Writer: Lloyd S Wagner (Screenplay) Levan Bakhia, Beqa Jguburia (Story)

Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Christina Ulloa, Travis Van Winkle, Michael Copon, Tyler Mane

 

Plot: Four friends travel to a lakeside cabin for a carefree weekend, the fun turns into a nightmare when 3 of them end up locked in a hot sauna. Every minute counts and every degree matters as they fight for their lives in the heat up to 247°F.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trapped But Not Thrilling

 

Story: 247F starts by showing loving couple Jenna (Taylor-Compton) and Jamie (Gogrichiani) driving talking about their future but tragedy strikes when Jamie dies in a car accident. Move forward 3 years and Jenna is having a trip away with friends Renee (Ulloa), Ian (Van Winkle) and Michael (Copon) the friends are staying in a cabin arranged by Ian’s Uncle Wade (Mane).

The group are due to a big exclusive party but decide to spend some time in the cabins sauna first, we see how Jenna is very reluctant about going into the sauna and what follows in plenty of drinking and running between the sauna and the lake as the couple Renee and Michael try to play match maker between Ian and Jenna. Disaster strikes when Michael gets too drunk and ends up locking Jenna, Renee and Ian in the sauna, leaving us having to watch the three try and survive heat.

247F builds up to be a simple premise that works well in horror thriller, there is only so much this film could have done. We get the cabin fever feeling as the three friends start to turn on each other but what is good to see is how the people outside really don’t know what is going on. The story does try to keep you on edge but to its benefit we see how the idea would be to not do much to survive so we only see a couple of attempts of escape. The simplistic side of the story really does help make this easy and it never needed to do anything else. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Scout Taylor-Compton: Jenna is the friend who is haunted by a past tragedy but is trying to move on with her life, she goes on a trip with her friend Renee where she is being set up with her friend’s boyfriend’s friend. Jenna still has fears of trapped spaces due to the tragedy she experienced years before. Scout does a solid job in the role because she always looks resistant to anything going on. (6/10)

 jenna

Christina Ulloa: Renee is the loved up friend who brings Jenna along, but it is soon apparent that she isn’t as happy as we first thought in the relationship and holding back her true feelings about the people in the cabin. Christina does a solid job but is there to be the beautiful friend with shallow personality. (6/10)

renee

Travis Van Winkle: Ian is the charming friend that knows how to take control of the situation while remaining calm through the panic filled moments. Travis makes Ian the most likable character in the film. (7/10)

 ian

Michael Copon: Michael is the drunken member of the friendship who ended up getting too drunk and not remembering what happened before he passed out. Michael makes Michael the most unlikable character in the film but we also see that he didn’t know what had happened. (6/10)

 

Tyler Mane: Wade is the Uncle who lets the friends use the cabin, he is happy to let them party and even gets them the tickets to an exclusive party. Tyler is here to add the bigger name in horror and doesn’t really do much surrounding the main story. (5/10)

 

Support Cast: 247F doesn’t have any more characters in the film, we have people from the past but no one who is around long enough to do anything major.

 

Director Review: Levan Bakhia, Beqa Jguburia – The pairing do make a very simple horror film that does all it needs to without taking the idea over the top. (7/10)

 

Horror: 247F puts our characters in a life or death situation with no escape, what more could you want in a horror film? (8/10)

Thriller: 247F tries to pull you in to whether they will make it out alive but there isn’t much you could see the characters do while in the situation. (6/10)

Settings: 247F gives us a trapped location for our three characters where no one can help them in what will be a certain death situation. (9/10)

Suggestion: 247F is one for the horror fans to try it is enjoyable but don’t expect any blood or gore. (Horrors Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Basic idea.

Worst Part: Not enough tension.

 

Believability: it is based on a true story but only the getting trapped, the real story the people could turn off the sauna. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $650,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: No one plans to be locked in the Sauna

Trivia: The true event that the movie is based on happened in Georgia, where this film is made and filmmakers are from. 4 friends were in the sauna, one left for the toilet, locking his friends in – exactly as it is shown in the movie. He never came back, and when he woke up he didn’t remember that he left them in the sauna, and started to search for them elsewhere. Fortunately no one died since they managed to turn the heater off, but they had to spend over 10 hours in the decreasing heat, until they were found.

 

Overall: This is a claustrophobic film that never makes you think you are trapped but never lets you escape.

Rating 50

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Guillermo Del Toro Weekend – Hellboy (2004)

lgoDirector: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Peter Briggs (Screenplay) Mike Mignola (Comic Books)

Starring: Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones, Brian Steele

Plot: A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Great Dark Comic Book Film

Story: Hellboy starts in 1944 Scotland as we follow young soldier Trevor Bruttenholm as an experiment involving the paranormal is being performed by the Russian’s while our American’s are trying to stop it. Grigori Rasputin (Roden) plans to open the gates of hell and releases a demon that will help the Russian’s win the war. While the American’s do prevent the event happening the gate was open long enough for a baby demon Hellboy to come through and befriend Trevor who ends up becoming his father.

Fast-forward to the present time 2004 (year of release) where Hellboy is a myth, a cover up in America. Rasputin is bough back from the dead by his loyal followers, while Hellboy (Perlman) gets a new partner John Myers (Evans) who receives the tour from professor Bruttenholm known as Broom (Hurt). Hellboy is about to come up against the very man who bought him into the world Rasputin who is long thought of to be dead while facing personal problems with his old flame Liz (Blair) and his father Broom.

Hellboy is a comic book film that is different to everything we have know, it focuses a lot more on the paranormal side of effects. Even though this comes off with similar styling as the comic book film it doesn’t have a super strong villain where it tests the hero to make the right decision. This film is over ten years old and I can safely say I would rather watch this than most of the Avengers universe films. This is fun action pack and just enjoyable without losing the darkness in the story. (8/10)

Actor Review

Ron Perlman: Hellboy is the demon who comes through a portal where he spends his life fighting the paranormal for the Americans. He is the anti hero we haven’t seen in comic book films before he just wants to be accepted by has to spend his time in hiding. Ron did a great job as the anti hero using his charm and physical image to make a great performance. (8/10)hellboy

John Hurt: Trevor Bruttenholm is the man who raised Hellboy as well as running the paranormal investigation unit for the American government. He always protected Hellboy through the worst times and has know searched for his replacement due to his terminal illness. John gives a good performance in the mentor role which works for the film. (7/10)brom

Selma Blair: Liz Sherman is the former member of the team who is trying to live a normal life but when her abilities flair up again she returns to fight along with Hellboy to stop the gates of hell opening. Selma was a good supporting character and love interest with our hero. (7/10)iz

Rupert Evans: John Myers is the new recruit sent to the paranormal section where he must learn the ways as Hellboy is picky about who he works he proves to be a good ally even if they don’t see eye to eye to start with. Rupert does a solid job but doesn’t seem to get the character development he needed to have. (6/10)jon

Karel Roden: Grigori Rasputin is the man who released Hellboy that now wants to continue bringing his vision of pure evil to the world from beyond the grave. Karel does a good job in the villain role that doesn’t rely on strength rather than brains. (7/10)rasputin

Support Cast: Hellboy has a supporting cast that includes the supporting villains that has one assassin that is very cool but otherwise most of the support cast is the disposable characters.

Director Review: Guillermo del Toro – Guillermo dos a great job directing this dark comic book film that really works making this entertaining but still unique to the genre. (8/10)

Action: Hellboy has some very good over the top action but doesn’t have a true stand out moment though. (7/10)

Fantasy: Hellboy brings us the into the world where demons are just past the other dimension. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: Hellboy brings us into a future world where the end could come from something different. (8/10)

Settings: Hellboy uses settings you would expect to see with the genre being used. (6/10)
Special Effects: Hellboy has great effects throughout that help work with the story. (8/10)

Suggestion: Hellboy is one for all comic book fans to enjoy because it just feels different the superhero films. (Comic Book Fans Watch)

Best Part: Hellboy is a great character.

Worst Part: I feel like it would have a bigger following if it came out now.

Action Scene Of The Film: Train chase.

Funniest Scene: Liz and John’s date with Hellboy watching

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes has one.

Post Credits Scene: There is one.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $59 Millions

Budget: $66 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

Tagline: Give Evil Hell

Trivia: Doug Jones‘s (Abe Sapien) voice was dubbed by David Hyde Pierce, but Pierce refused a credit, because he felt that Abe was entirely Doug’s creation and did not wish to detract from his performance.

Overall: What the comic book genre needed, something different.

Rating 80

Halloween Kingathon – Children of the Corn (1984) By Flashback/Backslide

Banner-1Children of the Corn by Damien from Flashback/Backslide

 corn

Buried inside the final cut of Children of the Corn there might be an exciting film. The movie tells the story of Gatlin, Nebraska which falls under the violent control of a cult of young corn worshipers led by a boy named Isaac leads the cult and  his feared lieutenant Malachai. By the time the film’s main plot begins, the only dissenters to the rule of Isaac and his followers are two siblings, Job and Sarah, who seem younger than most of the cult. Isaac allows the siblings a great deal of freedom because Sarah displays “the gift of sight.” Meaning that her drawings predict the future like an elementary school version of a different Isaac from the show “Heroes.”

Will Sarah’s gift come up later? Will it impact the events of the movie in anyway? Nope. The only important thing about her gift in this film is that it allows Job and Sarah to operate relatively independently (much to the chagrin of Malachai). Otherwise her drawings predict events the audience already knows about, including the arrival of two adults to the town. Burt and Vicky find their way to Gatlin after a not-so-coincidental accident. Soon the Children come after the two “Outlanders” and seek to sacrifice them to their corn god “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

The film’s biggest problem is a lack of any narrative cohesion. There are several plot threads that end up feeling like loose ends (eg. Most of the earlier scenes between Burt and Vicky deal with her wanting to be engaged and Burt’s hesitance. This only really serves to give the finale a stronger emotional payoff. And again there really is no need for Sarah to have her power which is never explored anyway). Because of this lack of a unifying plot or theme, the actions of the characters seem dictated by the film’s needs and not that of the characters. When Vicky was attacked by the Children, why did she throw a lamp at the wall and not her attackers? Because watching the lamp smash made for better action. Then the scene carried on as if it didn’t happen. Why did the corn clear a path for Burt early in the movie? So he would kill Malachai? Or Isaac? The corn could’ve killed anyone it wanted. Why help this random person?  Was the corn trying to trap Burt? It easily could have grabbed him like it did later in the movie. In the end it doesn’t matter because Burt turns around and runs away. The only function of that scene was for the audience to learn that the corn is sentient.

That one thread that almost makes Children of the Corn worthwhile is the Lord of the Flies version of the film. A movie about a cult of children who kill all the adults in their town is an interesting if not original concept. Why not just make a movie about that? About how easy it is for people to be swept up by religious fanaticism. Isaac would be the charismatic leader who claims to have the sole connection to their god. Malachai would be the trusty sidekick who grows suspicious of Isaac’s holiness and starts to wonder if Isaac is deceiving the group. Have two adults stumble into the town to stir the pot and force the children to reckon with what they’ve done.

Instead, the movie covers this interesting element with the actual supernatural. First we have Sarah’s useless gift. Then the mystery of He WhoWalks Behind the Rows becomes less mysterious and less exciting. The film ends with a final battle that really didn’t need to happen. Children of the Corn tries to have it both ways. Is Isaac delusional like it is alleged? Well, no. There really was a crazy thing behind those rows of corn. He wasn’t a fanatic run amok but someone responding to an actual force. Which is the less interesting version of this story.

Rating: 3/10

Horror Tropes Checklist:

-Lighter that won’t stay lit.

-Creepy kids (triple check)

-Tripping over your own feet during an escape.

-Final scare (This one was horrible. The movie ends in a very weird way because of this. After that final jump scare, the actors just sort of walk off screen, as if they weren’t sure when the director would cut. That uncertainty carries over to the audience. “Oh so I guess it’s over?” 

Halloween Kingathon – Children of the Corn (2009)

Banner-2logoDirector: Donald P Borchers

Writer: Donald P Borchers, Stephen King (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Daniel Newman, Preston Bailey, Robert Gerdisch

Plot: While traveling, an unhappy married couple encounter a cult of murderous children who worship an entity called He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

Story: Children of the Corn starts in Gatlin Nebraska where the children are being lead by a preacher boy preaching the way of the children of how the children must kill anyone over the age of 19 because that is what is written in the Bible.

12 years later Burton (Anders) and wife Vicky (McClure) are travelling cross-country through Nebraska. Their argumentative trip takes a turn when they run over an injured young boy. After driving away to look for help we see the leader of the children Isaac (Bailey) and his dirty job older child Malachai (Newman) covered in blood.

As Burt and Vicky search Gatlin for help they find the town deserted apart from the children who have their own plan for the adults who visit the town.

Children of the Corn is a remake of one of the early works of King’s work, this time we get a graphic version of that tale that doesn’t seem to be able to capture the true tension that the first one did, don’t get me wrong it has its moments but in the end the film bounce between slasher horror to tension building but never manages to use one to the fully ability. One the positive I did find the children actually having an added creepiness level which will leave you freaked out but the adults just annoy you. (3/10)

Actor Review

David Anders: Burton Stanton is the ex-soldier travelling across American with his wife, they are fighting about ever decision and when he hits a child he finds himself in the middle of an empty town trying to survive when the children are in control. David gives a solid performance but his character his horrible written. (5/10)

Kandyse McClure: Vicky Stanton is the argumentative wife of Burton who enjoys shouting at him more than talking, she is correct about trying to escape the town but Burt doesn’t listen to her leaving her to become one of the victims of the Children of the Corn. Kandyse really gets on your nerves as the film unfolds. (5/10)

Daniel Newman: Malachai is the muscles of the cult of children mainly because he is the oldest, but he will die to follow the instructions of Isaac. Daniel does a solid job as the leader of the hunters the second in command if you like. (6/10)

Preston Bailey: Isaac is the lead of the cult of children who claims to be speaking to God about their path, their decision and their harvesting techniques. Preston gives us a genuinely creepy kid performance that is the highlight of the film. (7/10)

Support Cast: Children of the Corn only has a supporting cast including the children who all have their own level of understanding to the cult situation.

Director Review: Donald P Borchers – Donald doesn’t decide which type of horror he wants his film to use leaving us the audience without characters to root for. (3/10)

Horror: Children of the Corn gets the gore marks but then tries to have tension, I say tries but fails. (5/10)

Thriller: Children of the Corn does try to create tension but ends up failing on that front. (3/10)

Settings: Children of the Corn uses the abandoned town for the settings which does work for the idea. (8/10)

Suggestion: Children of the Corn is one you should just stick with the original because it knows what type of horror it wants to be. (Stick to the original)

Best Part: Isaac is creepy as they come.

Worst Part: Confused horror ideas.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Not to this series

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Overall: Bland horror that doesn’t scare, thrill of gain any interests.

Rating 20

New Release – Death in the Desert

deathDirected by Josh Evans and starring internationally acclaimed actor Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight, Sin City). 

Death in the Desert, based on the true crime book by Cathy Scott and adapted for the screen by Scott and John Steppling, has been acquired by Osiris Entertainment. Company has set the film for a DVD and VOD release in January 2016.

An advance screening of the film will be held this Friday at the Arizona Underground Film Festival on Friday.

The film, already labelled a “classic” by The Huffington Post, who applauded the film’s “captivating” cast of characters and ‘’dark and addictive’’ story, is expected to win Michael Madsen some of the best notices of his career.

Death in the Desert tells of a trio who double down on love in Las Vegas.  The life of Kim Davis, the young live-in girlfriend of legendary casino owner Ray Easler, is thrown upside down when she falls for Matt Duvall, the man Ray hires to bury his $20 million fortune of silver on the floor of the Nevada desert.

Joining Madsen are Paz Del Huerta, Roxy Saint, and Shayla Beesley. Visionary musician and producer Chris Goss did the score.