Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Jessabelle (2014)

logDirector: Kevin Greutert

Writer: Robert Ben Garant (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Snook, Joelle Carter, Mark Webber, David Andrews, Ana de la Reguera, Amber Stevens West, Chris Ellis

Plot: Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return and has no intention of letting her escape.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Voodoo You Think Is Haunting You

Story: Jessabelle starts with a real bang when Jessie (Snook) and her partner are moving homes and get hit by a truck, he dies while Jessie has to go through months of physiotherapy. Jessie has to call her estranged father Leon (Andrews) to pick her up and look after her while she completes her therapy all while still being confined to a wheel chair.

Jesse finds herself in the isolated house in the middle of swamp lands with nothing but a radio to keep her company. One the first night Jessie believes she sees and hears and woman while she is sleeping. Investigating around the house Jessie finds old belongings which includes a video message sent by her mother before she was born, due to be given to her on her 18th birthday. The message warns Jessie that she isn’t alone and a girl wants her out before we learn everything her father takes the tape throwing her wheel chair into the swamp.

Jessie starts getting visited by the ghostly figure as she learns more about her mother’s sickness as her father continues to try and protect her, he ends up becoming a victim of what is going on. This brings in Preston (Webber) an old friend who offers to help her. Jessie has to try and figure out what is going on and who is this ghostly figure after her?

Jessabelle plays out like my favourite sub-genre of horror, the ghost haunting to uncover the truth. There is a slightly twist with this one though, we get all the trademarks for what you expect to see but the final moments will surprise. You are left guessing for a long time about what is happening but you really don’t know where the film is taking you. We look into voodoo which we know can go in any direction really unless you have studied it, which frankly I haven’t. I like how the film decides to jump straight into the scares even if they are gentle at first before increasing with each one. I think this is a good horror story and the ending suits the film nicely. (7/10)

Actor Review

Sarah Snook: Jessie starts off as a happy young lady whose life is turned upside down with a horrific car accident that leaves her boyfriend dead and her stuck in a wheel chair. After moving back to her father’s house but it is here where he nightmares really start to happen. Sarah does a good job in the screaming leading lady making us convinced with what is happening throughout. (7/10)jessie

Joelle Carter: Kate is Jessie’s mother who died when she was young, but she left tapes where she believes she can predict the future that only show death in Jessie’s future. Joelle does give a solid supporting performance. (6/10)kate

Mark Webber: Preston Sanders is the old flame of Jessie’s who is now married but is helping through the troubles she seems to be facing with the mysterious visits. Mark fills the partner in the investigation easily enough giving us a solid portray of the old flame. (6/10)preston

David Andrews: Leon Laurent is Jessie’s estranged father who helps take care os Jessie while she recovers but he doesn’t like her looking around for anything in her past, but whatever he is hiding her from finds a way to take him out of the picture. David gives a solid supporting performance but does end up looking like a generic swamp like local. (7/10)

Support Cast: Jessabelle has a supporting cast that helps the film unfold giving us clues to what could really being going on.

Director Review: Kevin Greutert Kevin gives us a good horror film with plenty of scares from early on until the final scene. (8/10)

Horror: Jessabelle is filled with scares, we have two very good ones with the stairs and the bath scene. (8/10)

Thriller: Jessabelle does manage to keep us guessing from start to finish which is rare in a horror film, as they usually just make us sit at the edge of our seats waiting to see what happens next. (8/10)

Settings: Jessabelle puts the action in a house where a wheel chair bound person would struggle to get out, but the use of the Louisiana swamps adds the voodoo factor. (8/10)
Special Effects: Jessabelle uses good special effects to create the haunting moments. (8/10)

Suggestion: Jessabelle is one for all the horror fans to watch and enjoy, I think the horror fans will like the number of scares as well as the story that keeps you guessing. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: I like the effect of the bath scene where the ghost is just as scared as Jessie.

Worst Part: We don’t get enough true clues which I know horror films like to give us.

Oh My God Moment: Final scene.

Scariest Scene: Stair scene, where Jessie hears footsteps running down the stairs brushing past her before she sees who is doing it.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 hour 30 Minutes

Tagline:  The dead are back for life

Overall: Jessabelle is a horror film filled with shock, scares leaving your heart pulsing before the final scene leaves you breathless.

Rating 75

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Halloween Kingathon – Dreamcatcher (2003)

Banner-1logoDirector: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: William Goldman, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Sizemore, Donnie Wahlberg

Plot: Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Alien Film King Style

Story: Dreamcatcher starts by introducing us to the four friends therapist Henry (Jane) who can read minds but is also suicidal, Jonesy (Lewis) a college teacher who can read body language. We have Pete (Olyphant) a car salesman with the ability to find things and finally Beaver (Lee) a family man who can send out warnings. The four live of the motto SSDD (Same shit different day) and look to spend a weekend away to see Duddits (Wahlberg). When Jonesy is involved in a freak car accident the group move their plans back 6 months.

The weekend is going as planned with memories of how they all meet Duddits but things take a turn when a sick hunter turns up at the cabin, with just Beaver and Jonesy there. To make things worse the animals all seem to be running from something before the army lead by Col Abraham Curtis (Freeman) inform the friends they are part of a quarantine zone.

When Rick dies something is left in the toilet something that Jonesy and Beaver have to fight but nothing had prepared them for what they would have to face as the four friends learn that their meeting with Duddits all those years ago was preparing them for this very moment and the battle against an alien race.

Dreamcatcher brings us King’s idea of an alien storyline, I like how the twist that the friendly looking aliens in just a cover to deal with the deadly side of their character. I also like how the four friends were all given gifts to help them in a battle when it comes. On the bad side we have the typical military look at what is going on which neither helps or hinders the story but almost feels like filler. When you look at how certain moment are filled with King’s style you will like this but as a stand alone alien film this is just very plain. (6/10)

Actor Review

Morgan Freeman: Col. Abraham Curtis is the leader of the military efforts against the alien invaders, he shots first because he knows he can’t let the contagion spread any further. He is on the verge of madness for the most part as he aims to win this war and doesn’t care how many people he kills to do so. Morgan gives us a standard performance that feels out of character for him to play. (5/10)col

Thomas Jane: Henry is the straight and narrow of the group of friends, he always wants to do the right thing even if he is questioning his own life. When his friends start getting picked off by the alien creatures and military force who are out to destroy everything inside the quarantine zone, Henry must fight for what is right using the skills he gained with his connection of Duddits. Thomas does a solid job showing he isn’t just an action star. (7/10)henry

Damian Lewis: Jonesy is the teacher of the group of friends who has his own memory bank but when an alien takes over his body, he must fight the force from inside his head where he keeps one step ahead of the alien. Damian gives us the best performance especially once he gets into the dual roles. (7/10)jonesy

Timothy Olyphant: Pete is the car salesman who has an ability to find things with the twist of his finger, he shows the skill early on and is also a much needed helper for the alien who took over Jonesy mind. Timothy does a good job in this role standing out as the cocky member of the group of friends. (7/10)pete

Support Cast: Dreamcatcher has solid supporting performances from Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore and Donnie Wahlberg who are involved in the final outcome of the story.

Director Review: Lawrence KasdanLawrence brings the King idea to screen in a way that brings King’s style of humour to certain parts of life which works very well but never feels like a true comedy. (6/10)

Horror: Dreamcatcher doesn’t reach the true levels of horror I think we would like to see when it comes to this genre of film. (4/10)

Sci-Fi: Dreamcatcher brings us the alien invasion idea but also brings us into a world where they have become common and we are prepared to fight back. (8/10)

Thriller: Dreamcatcher tries to keep you guessing but never pulls you to the edge of your seat. (5/10)

Settings: Dreamcatcher puts our characters in an isolated setting once the quarantine zone takes over but nothing about the settings becomes truly clear where they are. (4/10)
Special Effects: Dreamcatcher has a get bad marks for the special effects, you can see the CGI all the way through and even see it with fake snow. (2/10)

Suggestion: Dreamcatcher is one for the King fans to watch you can see his ideas through the whole way through but if your not a King fan you may struggle to enjoy this. (King Fans Watch)

Best Part: Damian Lewis steals the film.

Worst Part: CGI

Funniest Scene: Pete asking Jonesy why he sounds like James Bond as we know Damian Lewis is always in the mix for being the next Bond.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $33.6 Million

Budget: $68 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 16 Minutes

Tagline: Four friends hung a dreamcatcher in their cabin. It’s about to catch something it cannot stop.

Trivia: To portray Mr. Grey speaking through Jonesy, Damian Lewis did an impression of actor Malcolm McDowell.

Overall: A Stephen King stamped alien film

Rating 65

Oscar Winners 5 Early Roles – Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, she has has nominated for her Television work on Medium in the past. She has appeared in a lot of films people talk about be it True Romance, Stigmata, Lost Highway or Bringing Out the Dead. She has also been in a few stinkers like Little Nicky and Human Nature, but what were her early roles?

5. Kathy O’Hara – Ed Wood (1994)

ed wood

4. Grace – Inside Monkey Zetterland (1992)

zetterland

3. Casey – Prayer of the Rollerboys (1990)

rollerboys

2. Zero – Pretty Smart (1987)

smart

1. Kristen Parker – Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors (1987)

elm street

This is actually the only one of these I have seen and for a debut performance she gives in this in a leading role against one of the most iconic villains in horror.