Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Devil May Call (2013)

devilDirector: Jason Cuadrado

Writer: Jason Cuadrado, Wyatt Doyle (Screenplay) Jason Cuadrado (Story)

Starring: Corri English, Tyler Mane, Traci Lords, Van Hansis, Camillia Monet, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Tracy Perez

 

Plot: A young, blind operator for a suicide hotline descends into a night of unrelenting terror when an obsessive caller turns out to be a serial killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Horror Not Reaching Potential

 

Story: Devil May Call starts as we see serial killer John (Mane) on the phone with suicide hotline girl Sam (English) but when his latest victim escapes we see just what he is capable of. Sam is a blind woman who is highly respected within the helpline centre who is left with the responsibility of looking after a new member of the team Jess (Hansis). Sam is getting ready to move onto a new job but her most regular caller John has become obsessed with calling Sam and doesn’t take the news that she is leaving well threatening her.

The final night for Sam is about to take a turn when Sam, Jess and Val (Lords) find themselves trapped in the building when John comes on his latest murderous rampage.

Devil May Call is a film with so much suspense filled tension potential because having a blind character trying to elude a serial killer should create tension bound horror. This doesn’t come off because we never see the true motives behind John’s action, taking Sam away from the location also doesn’t help because the film just seems to sudden end without a final showdown between the two. I feel this story just doesn’t address what it offers enough to reach any of its potential.

 

Actor Review

 

Corri English: Sam is the blind suicide helpline operator, she enjoys the job where she gets the chance to help people every day. One of her most regular callers John just so happens to be a serial killer but she isn’t away of this but when she informs him she is leaving this drives him over the edge as he starts targeting her centre. Corri is solid in this role but doesn’t get the moment you would like to see from the leading lady in horror.

Tyler Mane: John is one of the regular callers to Sam, she has plenty of problems and is in fact a serial killer with the only thing keeping him sane is his conversations with Sam. When he finds out Sam is leaving he goes on a rampage to make her pay for lying to him. Tyler is as always a brilliant screen presence but just doesn’t give us enough.

Traci Lords: Val is the experienced worker that works the late nights with Sam, she is good at her job as well as being a good friend to her. Traci is solid in this role being the supporting character need for Sam.

Van Hansis: Jess is the new guy starting as a replacement for Sam, he spends the night learning off her only to find himself being a victim to the killer on the end of the line. Van is good but only a basic supporting character that never really gets going.

Support Cast: Devil May Call has a small remaining supporting cast that don’t really add anything to the main story.

Director Review: Jason CuadradoJason doesn’t get enough out of a great idea involved.

 

Horror: Devil May Call should reach much higher levels of horror but is doesn’t let enough build up.

Thriller: Devil May Call should also get us on the edge of our seats but in the end it just fizzles outs.

Settings: Devil May Call uses the help centre for one centre and it would be fair they should have kept the whole film there but taking it out of that location ruins the tension.
Special Effects
: Devil May Call has very basic special effects for the kills.

Suggestion: Devil May Call is one to try, because it is short and sweet for a horror. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Short.

Worst Part: Lack of Suspense

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

Overall: Potentially great horror that doesn’t reach its potential.

Ratingcard

 

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Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (2014)

logoDirector: Nick Gomez

Writer: Stephen Kay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Gregg Henry, Stephen McHattie, Sara Botsford, Hannah Anderson, Andrea Runge, Billy Campbell

Plot: The true story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: TV Case History

Story: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe starts by introducing us to the Borden family with Lizzie (Ricci) finding the butchered body of her father Andrew (McHattie). We are in the 1892 and the families all dress to impress while attending church on a weekly bases we have Lizzie, Andrew as well as Emma (DuVall), Abby and (Botsford). Lizzie dreams of getting out of the shadows her father casts and not wanting to become a victim of her father’s nature.

Lizzie continues to go against her father and her step mother Abby as she keeps getting accused of stealing. With Emma away the events follow with both Andrew and Abby getting murdered and the district attorney Hosea Knowlton (Henry) eyeing up Lizzie as the murderer. Old friend Andrew Jennings (Campbell) comes to the house to offer his services to Lizzie if she would require it.

What follows is Hosea trying to put together a case which does make Lizzie look guilty but he can’t find that evidence so the case goes before a judge to figure out what really happened.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a story I have to say I am slightly confused about, I personally thought there was some sort of supernatural side to the story but this only look at the basic case. The story is one that still gets talked about today because it never got solved which instantly makes it an interesting story to look into. I do feel this version of the story never really gets into enough detail because it just seems to come off very slow and automatically makes Lizzie a villain which is disappointing because it may look like she was guilty but we will never know. (6/10)

Actor Review

Christina Ricci: Lizzie Borden is the very calm sister in the family who dreams off getting out from the shadows of her father, but as the tension rise the parents are murdered making her the prime suspect. This leaves us to wonder if she is the killer and if she is how she wants to prove her innocence. Christina does what we know she can giving us a god performance throughout. (7/10)lizzie

Billy Campbell: Andrew Jennings is the defence lawyer who knows the father and offers to defend Lizzie in the court case. He advises Lizzie during the trial as well as defending her. Billy gives a solid performance in the supporting role. (6/10)jennings

Clea DuVall: Emma Borden is the sister of Lizzie, who wasn’t around during the murders. She starts by defending Lizzie but over time she starts to question her sister’s reaction after the murders. Clea also gives a solid performance but doesn’t do enough to make us care about her career. (6/10)emma

Gregg Henry: Hosea Knowlton is the District Attorney who wants to build a case against Lizzie and he has a good case but he does lack the evidence to fully convict without a trial. Gregg does a good job in the role opposite Ricci. (7/10)

Stephan McHattie: Andrew Borden is the father that gets murdered, he is very strict making Lizzie feel trapped inside her own home, not letting her see the world or find herself a husband, but just who killed him. Stephen may only have a small part but his character drives the motives to what everything happens and he does a good job. (7/10)father

Support Cast: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe has a supporting cast of people who either help the case unfold without really doing enough for the whole story.

Director Review: Nick GomezNick does a solid job telling just one theory of what happened in the case of Lizzie Borden. (6/10)

Crime: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe shows the crimes that were committed but never managed to figure out who really did it. (6/10)

Mystery: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a mystery we are still studying today, this film only offers one outcome. (9/10)

Thriller: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe doesn’t really make you wonder what will happen because we all know she doesn’t get found guilty and we don’t know who did the crime. (3/10)

Settings: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe creates authentic looking settings to match the time period in question. (9/10)

Suggestion: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is one to try but it might as well just have been a crime show looking at one theory about what happened. (Try It)

Best Part: Ricci’s performance.

Worst Part: Not enough answers about what could have happened.

Believability: The case is real as is the mystery behind it. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Ended up having its own television show.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Trivia: The Medical Examiner’s Assistant was an uncredited courtesy role created by the film’s producers for Jono Borden, an author and regional authority on the Borden family based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was asked to consult on his family’s history and offered an appearance onscreen. The irony of his casting saw him assist in the fictionalized depiction of the postmortem examinations of his very real cousins, Andrew and Abby Borden, and in an alternative courtroom scene cut from the final film, present the exhumed skulls of his relations to the jurors.

Overall: Just one side to a story that is one of the most interesting in crime history.

Rating 55