Jeffrey Combs Weekend – House on Haunted Hill (1999)

Director: William Malone

Writer: Dick Beebe (Screenplay) Robb White (Story)

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Jeffrey Combs

 

Plot: An amusement park mogul offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Creepy Mysterious Horror

 

Story: House on Haunted Hill starts as we see the horrors that took place in the Vannacutt institute, where the inmates escaped the torture the Dr Richard Benjamin Vannacutt (Combs) was performing on them with everyone dying within the fire.

Move to present day which is 1999 where Evelyn Stockard-Price (Janssen) wants her husband Stephen Price (Rush) an amusement park mogul to host her birthday inside the abandoned institute. The guest list includes Eddie Baker (Diggs), Donald Blackburn (Gallagher), Sara Wolfe (Larter) and Melissa Marr (Wilson) but the problem is neither of the Price’s know them and they have no idea why they have been invited.

When the guests along with the caretaker Watson Pritchett (Kattan) find themselves locked in the prize Stephen is offering of $1 Million becomes a draw for them all but the house has a history of coming alive at night, can these guests survive a night with Dr Richard Benjamin Vannacutt and the other victims of the mental institute?

 

Thoughts on House on Haunted Hill

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen Price is a man who has made his money in amusement parks, he has a strained relationship with his wife becoming the suspect in who is behind the goings on within the house. Evelyn believes that this whole party is a game by her husband but is happy to play the game her own way. The guests are all what you would expect, the ambitious celebrity driven, the kind hearted, the one trying to prove themselves and the doctor. The highlight comes from the creepy doctor haunting the hallways.

Performance wise, Geoffrey Rush gets to have a lot of fun in this leading role where he shows his class whereas Famke Janssen adds the dominate leading lady with a plan. Diggs and Larter both do well filling in blanks of the story with Jeffrey Combs being the doctor we all know and love.

StoryThe story is easy to follow and does explain the reasons for everything to be happening well. We do have slightly too much focus on the marriage between the Price’s and just how much they hate each other but otherwise this is a classic haunted asylum movie where it is who will survive the horrors of the house.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is all good and if you watch too young you can see just how scary certain moments are, when you look at the mystery which does get solved but is surrounding why these people got invited to the house in the first place.

SettingsAfter the introduction to the Price’s the rest of the movie is set within the house on haunted hill and that is great for everything which unfolds.

Special EffectsThe special effects do all go well until the final act where the special effects have dated being it nearly 20 years old now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film I do enjoy, it is short, easy to watch and has plenty of good horror moments involved.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fun horror film.

Rating

 

 

Wind River (2017)

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Writer: Taylor Sheridan (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Asbille

 

Plot: An FBI agent teams with a town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Contender for Film of the Year

 

Story: Wind River starts as we meet Cory Lambert (Renner) a hunter hired to take out predators in the Wyoming vast landscapes, his latest job is to search for lions hunting living stock but his tracks for these predators leads him to a gruesome discovery of Natalie’s (Asbille) frozen body. Cory brings in Native American Sheriff Ben (Greene) who brings in FBI agent Jane Banner (Olsen) to help with the investigation.

The three work together as Cory’s own experience of losing a daughter helps him connect with victims family, his ability to track predators and knowing what it is like to be an outsider to the Native American community helps the new outside Jane who doesn’t get the best help from the locals but together they will look to get to the bottom of this horrific crime.

 

Thoughts on Wind River

 

Characters – Cory is a hunter for hire to eliminate predators in the open land, he is the best tracker in the area but is also haunted by the death of his own teenage daughter, when he discovers one of her old friends body he must work with FBI agent Jane to discover the truth while being the only one that connect with the victim’s family. FBI Agent Jane Banner is the nearest agent to the crime, she isn’t prepared for what she discovers in the environment but is determined to find out the truth even if the locals don’t want to help along the way.

PerformanceJeremy Renner gives his best performance of his career to date here where you are just wanting to see more from his character because he is that interesting. Elizabeth Olsen is great here too showing how she can do the smaller films with ease.

StoryThe story is following a crime that needs to be solved where we see Native American community not being as accepting to outsiders making solving the crime more difficult. The story shows how bleak the world these characters live in and the unfolding of the truth is engaging pulling us into want to learn the truth. This is a slow burning story but you just want to keep watching each and every scene.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the story is investigating of the body being found, it could be murder but the cause of death isn’t murder, this also adds to the mystery of the film as we are left to see how everything unfolds.

SettingsThe settings are fantastic viewing with the mountain range looking breath taking but also show the distant world between the Native American people and the modern world.

Scene of the Movie – The truth

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is hard to find something I didn’t like.

Tagline – Nothing is harder to track than the truth

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy contender for film of the year even could been an early pick for Best Picture, it has the best acting performance of the year to date and is a must watch for the crime thriller fans.

 

Overall: Brilliant film and contender for film of the year.

Rating