The Laughing Mask (2014)

maskDirector: Michael Aguiar

Writer: Michael Aguiar (Screenplay)

Starring: John Hardy, Jeffrey Gwyn Jenkins, Flavia Falquetto, Matt Ganey, Manny Dortanieves, Brent Gaubatz, Sheyenne Rivers, Gabriel Lee


Plot: A grisly murder perpetrated by a deranged killer, Jake Johnson’s wife and daughter were murdered by a Psychotic vigilante only known as The Laughing Mask. As the police look for clues and the body count begins to rise, Johnson will play a dangerous game in order to avenge his family’ death.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: He’s Coming


Story: The Laughing Mask starts as we watch The Laughing Mask (Jenkins) doing what he does as he has been on a killing spree across the city. Jake Johnson (Hardy) whose wife was killed by the Laughing Mask and his daughter was kidnapped so he has set out to write his own book to draw the killer after him.

The police Katherine (Rivers), Cordova (Lee) and Brock (Rafferty) are all trying to hunt down the killer who has continued to build up his killing numbers, but after Kate runs into The Laughing Mask she learns that he might only be after criminals, is he really just a vigilante and what are his reasons?

The Laughing Mask is a film that takes elements from slasher, saw and detective stories and mixes them all together to make an enjoyable film. We are giving plenty to try and figure out as we try guess what is happening. We do get plenty of twists with the final outcome even if you could figure one out the rest will surprise you. The biggest praise has to come with the idea of a new potential serial killer which the horror genre has been calling for recently.


Actor Review


John Hardy: Jake Johnson lost his family to the Laughing Mask, desperate for revenge he takes action into his own hands by writing a book calling out the kill against all the police advice. We are left to wonder if he will get his answers. John does a good job in this role playing the desperate man.

Jeffrey Jenkins: The Laughing Mask is the new serial killer targeting criminals giving them a dose of their own medicine.  He loves to play classical music while performing his punishment which also includes his trademark laugh. Jeffrey makes a great scene presence during the film.

Sheyenne Rivers: Katherine O’Malley is the lead detective investigating the crimes being committed by The Laughing Mask killer, she does have her own personal problems that she has to put aside while working on finding answers. Sheyenne does a good job in this role play the problem filled detective.

Gabriel Lee: Alejandro Cordova is the detective who wants to be the lead on the case, he comes off as a womaniser who strolls around moody and against Kate. Gabriel does a good job in this role filled with mystery.

Support Cast: The Laughing Mask is filled with a supporting cast that are mostly the victims of the killer.

Director Review: Michael AguiarMichael gives us a new killer and a story that is filled with twists and turns as everything unfolds.


Horror: The Laughing Mask does give us a new serial killer for the genre who is twisted in all his kills.

Thriller: The Laughing Mask does bring you to the edge of your seat as you are left to wonder who will be next.

Settings: The Laughing Mask doesn’t make anything out of the settings which all feel like the generic for the characters.
Special Effects
: The Laughing Mask has good effects for all the kills happening through the film.

Suggestion: The Laughing Mask is one for the horror fans to try, you should enjoy the birth of a new serial killer. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The Laughing Mask in the bar.

Worst Part: Certain kills are chance kills which seems out of character at time.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: If you’re guilty, Beware the Laughing Mask


Overall: The birth of a new serial killer


Opinion Battles Round 16 Favourite Film Set in Space

opinion battles

Best Film Set in Space

For the final round on year one we are looking at the best film set in space, mainly to celebrate the upcoming release of Star War Episode 7. We have plenty of films that have been released through nearly all genres that are st in space but what is our favourites?

If you would like to join in next year’s Opinion Battles send an email to for more details.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Event Horizonevent

I have selected Event Horizon because I feel it could easily be one of the most underrated horror films that built on what films like Alien created, it offers a new enemy in space rather than the easy option of aliens giving us a manmade terror. I will like to point out this is one horror film that could easily be missed but the pure levels of gore and suspense along with the shock value is the special factor about this film.

Khalid – The Blazing Reel

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)empire

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fifty years, you know what Star Wars is and you probably also know that the entire trilogy comprises of three of the best films set in space (And no, I’m not speaking of the wretched sequels). The only question is which one is the best one? and the answer to that is The Empire Strikes Back, because this is a film that built on the unimaginable promise of the first film and surpassed it in so many ways. It’s visually astounding, the story is far more expansive and darker than the first one but at the same time, brimming with heart and emotion. It’s just a brilliant, brilliant film, whose influence today can be felt among almost every moviegoer. 

Flicks Chicks



This round’s theme has really put me outside of my comfort zone, as I have watched very few movies set in space. There are some classics which will be on my watch list for next year, but there is a movie that counts for this round, and not only is it one of my favourite space based movies, but one of my all time favourites.

WALL.E is set in a waste-filled future, where the situation became so dire that mankind has fled the planet on a giant cruise-ship, whilst waste collecting robots clean the planet up. Hundreds of years later, the plan seems to have failed as one little robot and his cockroach friend seem to be the only ones left on Earth, until one day a ship drops off a robot named EVE to scan the planet for signs of life. It’s a beautiful animated movie, and a must watch!



Alien (1979)


Alien Poster

Timeless, tense, gritty, claustrophobic, Alien perfectly illustrates how unprepared we are for whatever’s out there… or is there another message?

A deep space salvage crew responds to a distress signal and brings an organism on their ship unprepared for its nightmarish agenda. These people are believable, relatable, and smart, but helpless, vulnerable, and very far from Earth.

Alien Cast

They’re sacrifices for Corporate Greed; a global conglomerate that doesn’t hesitate to abrogate the crew’s life for marketable discoveries. And the Xenomorph would certainly qualify; a terrifying creature wholly original and hellish.

Alien Grin

Likely the perfect organism; it sits in pod-hibernation, anywhere, indefinitely until some creature comes by. Now a near-impervious face-hugger emerges and deposits a seed which genetically appropriates the adaptations of its host.

A Xenomorph bursts out in short time, a true Xenomorph, but one as perfectly adapted for its environment as its host was. It grows phenomenally and starts a hive straight away. In reality, the Alien is a mirror for man. We force our way in, adapt, and dominate.

Alien Pods

And that – human nature – may be the most frightening thing we take into the galaxy.

Brilliant directing from Ridley Scott, unparalleled artistry from H R Giger, magnificent scoring from Jerry Goldsmith, and a solid cast. Even the tag line is snazzy…

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream


Movie Rob

Star Wars (1977)star wars


There aren’t many movies that are able to really transport us elsewhere in the universe while still feeling that it all is real.  Lucas was able to create a galaxy so detailed and full of many different species that it has all become such a spectacle for us to want to watch.  The 7th movie in the franchise is one of the most anticipated movies that so many moviegoers and movielovers can’t wait for it to be released.


Kim – Tranquil Dreams


Event Horizonevent


There are a ton of space movies but among the bunch that I like a lot, I do happen to watch Event Horizon the most.  It’s a horror thriller flick.  It’s as entertaining as it builds some decent creepy atmosphere.  It manages to get a few nice scares in.  It’s a true crazy journey as they discover the secret of the spaceship that reappears after disappearing in a black hole.  Plus, the cast is great with Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill. It’s a little predictable at times but to me, it’s an underrated flick. 




Guardians of the Galaxyguardians


Before Ant-ManGuardians of the Galaxy was considered Marvel’s biggest risk.  How would the average audience member react to a talking raccoon, a tree who only says one line, a couple of alien assassins, and a dude stuck in the 1980s? Turns out overwhelmingly positive!  Guardians of the Galaxy had the trademark humor Marvel had become known for, led fantastically by Parks and Recreation’s funnyman Chris Pratt.  But Pratt doesn’t hold up the film by himself. No, everyone of the titular Guardians has their own thing to offer.  Rocket and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively) is one of cinema’s best duos since C-3PO and R2-D2.  Throw in Dave Bautista’s literal Drax, who provided many unexpected laughs, and Zoe Saldana’s level-headed Gamora to round out the crew and you’ve got one eclectic group.  I’ve heard many complaints about the villain being very (very) shallow, which is a common complaint about Marvel villains, but I don’t mind it in this film.  This movie is about the team and the team coming together.  There isn’t much room for a deep, Loki-level villain. On paper, or at least non-comic book paper, this group looks downright ridiculous and probably shouldn’t work.  But it absolutely and brilliantly does.  I would argue Guardians of the Galaxy more than The Winter Soldier solidified Marvel as first-rate storytellers.



An easy choice (for once!). Sunshine is one of my favourite movies. I love everything about it, even the last act which does seems to divide people. It’s a great science fiction film, it has a beautiful score, great acting and is very atmospheric and dare I say dramatic. Just a wonderful film and a personal favourite of mine. 

S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Gravity (2013)gravity

I considered nominating fun adventures like Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy or Serenity, all of which happen to be generally set in space, but few films actually use space as a silent character like Gravity does. In this Oscar-winning survival story, space is the enemy, the indifferent but relentless adversary. While Alfonso Cuarón’s camera freely glides around the astronauts stranded in orbit after a satellite accident, the characters (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) are hindered by the uncaring reality of weightlessness and momentum, all presented with relative realism (the fire extinguisher and other physics issues notwithstanding). The film is set almost completely in space with a notable lack of gravity. Space is the foe, Earth is the goal, and Gravity is a visual and emotional masterpiece.

Summer – Serendipitous Anachronisms

Galaxy Quest (1999)galaxy
I am certain the person picking Star Wars wins this round, and I won’t be sad because I really like Star Wars, well, episodes 4-6, I pretend episodes 1-3 never happened. As for the new Star Wars films, I am cautiously optimistic. As much as I like Star Wars, I have to admit I like Star Trek even more, but “By Grabthar’s Hammer” the best movie set in space is Galaxy Quest!
It is hysterical!
An aging cast of a classic sci-fi television series “Galaxy Quest”, are stuck on the convention circuit. Benevolent aliens (Thermians) abduct the actors. The Thermians believe the show is real and base their society on the series.
The film stars Tim Allen as the sleazy Captain Kirk-esque actor who “manages to get his shirt off” in every episode, Alan Rickman plays the serious actor who once played Richard the III with five curtain calls, Sigourney Weaver is the babe whose TV Guide interview was six paragraphs about her boobs, and how well the fit in her uniform, Darryl Mitchell plays the child actor forced to learn how to pilot a spaceship, Tony Shalhoub plays a mellow and unflappable cool dude, and Sam Rockwell plays the as the extra who died in episode 81 and has a crisis because his character is not important enough to have a last name.
While a comedy, Galaxy Quest is an intelligent film for Trekkies, it hits the mark capping on both the original Star Trek and Star Trek The Next Generation shows. I like it because honestly captures the fandom surrounding it without being mean spirited.


Mary Elizabeth Winstead Weekend – Black Christmas (2006)

logoDirector: Glen Morgan

Writer: Glen Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Kristen Cloke, Andrea Martin, Crystal Lowe, Oliver Hudson, Karin Konoval

Plot: An escaped maniac returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins to murder the sorority sisters one by one.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: What the Hell is This

Story: Black Xmas starts right on Christmas time where alone in her Sorority a girl is in investigation of any noise mood before thinking everything is ok, well she is dead now. Next we go to the mental institute where killer Billy Lenz is kept. We finish off the introduction Kelli (Cassidy), Melissa (Trachtenberg), Heather (Winstead), Leigh (Cloke), Lauren (Lowe), Megan (Harmon) and Dana (Chabert) along with the house mother Barbara (Martin) all celebrating Christmas together.

When Billy escapes from the mental home it just so happens to go hand in hand with the disappearance and murders of the girls in the home. We do learn about Billy’s past and how he was sexual abused by his mother while being locked away in the attic but the question remains which one of the girls will make it out of the night alive.girls

Black Xmas is a horror remake that some how tries to do everything wrong when it comes to film, it has zero character development leaving all the supporting characters literally doing nothing but getting killed. The flashing back and forward between time doesn’t help and the idea that Billy is in a home when the film starts makes things even more confusing. The time line is so out of sync nothing makes sense and you are left just think thank god it is over. I really hate slamming films with young stars in because they deserve a chance but I can’t even give them proper reviews.

Actor Review

Katie Cassidy: Kelli Presley is our leading lady and member of the Sorority who thinks she has the dreamy boyfriend only to learn the truth about him on the very night the murders start happening. Katie does a solid job but doesn’t get any chance to do anything.

Michelle Trachtenberg: Melissa is a member of the Sorority that comes off like the responsible one and that is about all she does. Michelle ends up doing nothing, due to something you are going to see a lot here terrible character development.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Heather is the religious member of the Sorority who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty looking for answers about who is behind the mystery goings on in the house. Mary is hardly even involved even though she is in over half the film.

Lacey Chabert: Dana is a member of the Sorority that also does very little to the story. Lacey suffers from terrible character development.

Kristen Cloke: Leigh is the step sister of one of the girls in the Sorority who has gone missing, she was a member of the Sorority before and isn’t afraid of anything. Kristen gives a bsic supporting performance but like the rest noting to work with.

Support Cast: Black Xmas has a supporting cast that includes the disposable girls that seem to have one seen before being killed off.

Director Review: Glen MorganGlen gives us one of the worst remakes in film history.

Horror: Black Xmas works on the slasher level but has no suspense to talk about.

Thriller: Black Xmas has zero suspense created in a film that needed it all.

Settings: Black Xmas has most of the action happening in and around one house in the middle of a street but no one bothers to leave to look for help.
Special Effects: Black Xmas does create the kills well but they do feel very forced for the violent side.

Suggestion: Black Xmas just RUN AWAY FROM THIS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. (Avoid)

Best Part: It is short.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $16 Million

Budget: $9 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Silent Night Evil Night



New Release – Pawn Sacrifice



UK Release Date: 4th December 2015


Stars: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard

Genres: Biography/Drama


Plot: Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.

Anticipation Rating 9/10


Guess Rating 9/10