Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Hacked (2013)

hackedDirector: Zachary Donohue

Writer: Zachary Donohue, Lauren Thompson (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen, Adam Shaprio, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Matt Riedy


Plot: While studying the habits of web cam chat users from the apparent safety of her own home, a young woman’s life begins to spiral out of control after witnessing a grisly murder online.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Found Footage Done Right


Story: Hacked starts as Elizabeth Benton (Papalia) wants to get a student grant to spend her time experimenting on a social media site known as the Den. The idea is for Elizabeth to spend the time interacting with as many people from as any different places in the world.

When Elizabeth accepts the being able to chat to anybody in the world, she starts to experience the strange coming through as well as getting a repeat visit from the randomly generated chat selection with somebody hacking her computer to activate her account while she is sleeping. When Elizabeth witness what looks like a murder of one of the people she is chatting too, she finds herself freaked out and trying to solve the crime.

When Elizabeth’s boyfriend Damien (Schlachtenhaufen) goes missing he becomes the first of her friends and loved ones to be targeted by this serial killers.


Thoughts on Hacked


Characters/PerformanceElizabeth is the ambitious student attempting something different with her social studies course, she is committed to her idea but this does leave her outside her own social circle. She learns the dark side of the internet with her experiment. The rest of the characters are the generic boyfriend, bestie and or course family member. The next most interesting character is in fact the killers, as we want to learn about their motives.

Performance wise we have a great performance from Melanie Papalia who must be good or this film doesn’t work, she must carry everyone with her performance because she is in fact in nearly every scene, be it watching or taking part within. Saying this, I don’t feel anyone was bad they just don’t get the

StoryThe story here shows how what can look like a harmless experiment is in fact the start of something much darker on the internet, we all know there is a dark corner to the internet and this shows how people can exploit it for their own sick fantasies.  This film also poses a warning for using random chatrooms because you could find yourself being a victim down the line.

Horror/MysteryThis film builds on the mystery as it just dives into the horror of what is really going on, slowly building the suspense until the final impact of this film.

SettingsThe settings are used very well because Elizabeth is only ever watching from her webcams which shows how helpless and almost clueless she is during the situation everything is unfolding in.

Special EffectsThe limited use of special effects are used when needed to make each attack or kill look just as shocking as it can be.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that is full of shock right until the final moments of the film.


Overall: Great horror that will give the found footage fans something to cheer for.




A Long Way Down (2014)

Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Writer: Jack Thorne (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Zara White, Joe Cole, Sam Neill


Plot: Four people meet on New Year’s Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another with the difficulties of their lives.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Underrated Gem


Story: A Long Way Down starts on New Year’s Eve as disgraced TV celebrity Martin (Brosnan) is planning to kill himself only to get interrupted by the lonely Maureen (Collette), heartbroken Jess (Poots) and cancer stricken JJ (Paul) who are also using the same rooftop to plan their suicide.

All going against the suicide the four make a pact to not kill themselves until at least Valentine’s day and support each other through the six weeks once the tabloids want to make a story of why they were together. The four become good friends exposing their own secrets to why they want to escape their lives.


Thoughts on A Long Way Down


Characters/PerformanceMartin is the disgraced TV talk show host, his small mistake has ruined his career, his family and even finding himself in jail. Now out of jail he wants to kill himself to get away from the headlines. Maureen is a single mother spending everyday looking after her disabled son, not getting any real free time. Jess is the daughter of politician whose sister vanished a few years before, she is a lost soul in the world turning to the drinks and drugs. JJ is an American musician who can’t find his place in the world.

Performance wise, I feel all four of the main actors give brilliant performances, Paul and Poots both show that this could be one of their best of their careers in film, while Brosnan and Collette must have theirs put on their underrated performances of their careers.

StoryThe story shows the struggles everyday people can have with depression, it shows that you can get support from people you didn’t even know. I think this film tackles the issues of depression on a brilliant level, and shows just how you can find light in the strangest places.

SettingsThe settings are used to show just how different the location these four have come from, it shows just how important finding help outside your comfort zone can be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I didn’t expect too much from and I can say I truly enjoyed the film, the characters all feel real, their problems feel real and most importantly the answers to the problems didn’t cure everything they helped them realizes how important they are.


Overall: This is a very underrated film I feel people should be seeing.




THE ROAD TO MANDALAY, Released Theatrically in UK & Ireland 29 September

Award-Winning Director Midi Z Returns with Outstanding Fourth Feature, THE ROAD TO MANDALAY, Released Theatrically in UK & Ireland 29 September

UK, London: Thursday 14th September 2017 – Day for Night is delighted to be releasing THE ROAD TO MANDALAY, the latest film by award-winning Taiwan based Burmese director Midi Z in the UK and Ireland on 29 September.

Since the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival independent strand Venice Days in 2016, winning the FEDEORA Award for Best Film, THE ROAD TO MANDALAY has since been selected at numerous major international film festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film had its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival and London premiere as the Closing Gala at Chinese Visual Festival at the BFI.

In THE ROAD TO MANDALAY, Midi Z’s fourth feature and arguably his best work to date, he continues his preoccupation with exiles from Myanmar’s ethnic Chinese minority. This is a love story which follows two illegal immigrants as they resort to human traffickers to help them cross the Mekong river and over the border into a less than welcoming Thailand. As they reach Bangkok, Lianqing soon finds herself drifting from one worthless job to another, and she gets closer to fellow illegal immigrant Guo who she met on the journey. With her unwavering determination to obtain identity papers, she soon realises that her hopes for the future are from his, and ultimately their love is doomed. The Road to Mandalay is a powerful portrait of the trials and tribulations of those seeking to escape conflict and poverty in Myanmar in search of a better life.

An eerie soundscape alongside dreamlike, and almost surreal sequences, amplify the disillusionment, displacement and alienation felt by the characters, while Midi Z’s regular actress Wu Ke-xi gives a striking performance, alongside Taiwanese star Kai Ko. THE ROAD TO MANDALAY firmly places Midi Z among the top contemporary social realist filmmakers working in Asia today.

Midi Z says of the film, “The situation faced by migrant workers in 2016 is the same as it was thirty years ago. There’s no end to these incredible, heart-breaking stories, despite Burma’s transition towards greater democracy. Young Burmese who feel imprisoned in their own country still regard Thailand and other countries as places where they would be ‘free’ and enjoy a brighter future. They have no idea that they will be ‘imprisoned’ again – and this time in a bigger prison. I’m fortunate. If I hadn’t moved to Taiwan to study, I could well have ended up like one of the characters in this film.

“I spent some three years doing field research in Thailand and Burma. I interviewed more than a hundred Burmese migrants in Thailand, and came up with several storylines set in different periods with different endings. I eventually settled on the story closest to my own experience and turned that story into this film as best I could.”

Midi Z was born in Myanmar in 1982, and is of Chinese descent. At the age of 16, Midi moved to Taiwan having won a scholarship, and went on to study art. His thesis film Paloma Blanca was screened at various international film festivals. In 2009, he was selected as the leading screenwriter and leading director for the Taipei Golden Horse Film Academy organised by Hou Hsiao-hsien. In 2011, he made his first feature film Return to Burma, which was selected for Busan International Film Festival 2011 and had its European premiere in the prestigious Tiger Awards Competition section of International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012. His third feature Ice Poison won the Best International Film Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014 and was Taiwan’s official entry for the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. He subsequently made his first documentary, Jade Miners, which was selected for the Taipei International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2015, followed by another documentary, City of Jade, which was selected for the Forum section of Berlinale in 2016. In the same year, he received the award for Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker at the Golden Horse Awards, in recognition of his excellence as a director of both feature films and documentaries, and for his contribution to Taiwanese cinema.