Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Black Death (2010)

Director: Christopher Smith

Writer: Dario Poloni (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice Van Houten, John Lynch, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, Kimberley Nixon

 

Plot: Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Medieval Horror

 

Story: Black Death starts with the plague sweeping across England, a young monk Osmund (Redmayne) is starting to question his own faith when the chance to join a group of soldiers led by Ulrich (Bean) who are requesting a man of faith on their latest mission. Ulrich and his men of colourful characters, that include a torturer, a family man and a man who would be happy to cut someone in half.

The mission is to search for a small group of people who don’t have the Black Death but are meant to be using the dark arts and sacrifice to keep them safe. As the journey continues the group learn that the plague isn’t the only thing that could kill them.

 

Thoughts on Black Death

 

Characters/PerformanceUlrich is a leader of soldiers who fight against the unholy for the bishop’s cause, he takes his work seriously and will kill anyone who crosses him or his men. Osmund is a young monk who has given his heart to a woman who gets stuck between his own faith and the woman he loves. Langiva is the leader of the small village who has the power to bring the dead back to life using her own ways to tempt the men away from their God. The rest of the soldier all fit the generic requirements with the villagers also fitting in them too.

Performance wise, Sean Bean is the star performer here showing he can carry any film, Redmayne is good but you can see how he was still learning with this performance, while Carice van Houten does make for a good seductive villain.

StoryLooking at the story, we get elements of how the world feared the Black Death and would turn to God or lose faith in him all together turning to another form of belief. That is the core part of this film as the soldiers refuses to give up on what they have come to believe to stop what is meant to be a wave of terror surrounding a small village. This does everything it needs to but does have moments that could come off original but others that you could see things coming.

Action/Horror/MysteryThere is small bursts of action mostly sword fighting, the horror comes from what could be happening and any torture scenes which are all off camera torture, the mystery does keep us going as we are left to wonder what is the truth.

SettingsEach setting makes us feel like we are in the current time this movie is set which is during the Black Death which is all we require and isn’t over used for any added horror.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly practical ones when it comes to the deaths, torture and potential witchcraft going on through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good medieval horror film, it does look at the idea of religion being good or bad as well as how deeply away from it you could go. It is also good to see a young Eddie Redmayne in one of the leading roles.

 

Overall: This is a film well worth checking out even if it isn’t the absolute best in the genre.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Candyman (1992)

Director: Bernard Rose

Writer: Bernard Rose (Screenplay) Clive Barker (Story)

Starring: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, DeJuan Guy, Ted Raimi

 

Plot: The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastically Scary Horror

 

Story: Candyman starts as we learn the legend of the Candyman as researcher Helen Lyle (Madsen) and her partner Bernadette (Lemmons) are collecting accounts of what happens if you say the name ‘Candyman’ in the mirror five times he will appear to you and gut you with his hook.

Helen is married to college professor Trevor Lyle (Berkeley) who teaches urban legends that sweep through word of mouth, sounds like the Candyman story. Helen and Bernie continue their investigation which takes them to a rough neighbourhood where one of the most famous cases of the Candyman took place.

Learning more about the Candyman legend and the horrifying truth about the man Daniel Robitaille (Todd) who was butchered and stung to death. When Helen finds, herself getting a visit from the real Candyman (Todd) who places her in the middle of a crime where she is accused of murder, but this is just a game for the Candyman trying to make his legend continue or will she break the curse.

 

Thoughts on Candyman

 

Characters/PerformanceHelen fills the journalistic leading lady, yes, I know she is a grad student researcher but this offers her a chance to look into the truth of urban legends. This is a standard leading character but at least one that is designed correctly for this style of film. the Candyman is the character we all came to see, he is a striking presence on screen that strikes fear into anybody who sees him, the hooked hand and bees offer genuine fear from this character. Trevor is the husband but is distant through the film that Helen believes is having an affair.

Performances, Tony Todd is fantastic in this role, he created a brand-new icon in horror that is scary in every single scene he is in. Virginia Madsen also shines in this role giving us a strong female lead which always works in horror. Xander Berkeley does ok but doesn’t feel like part of the main story in places.

StoryBringing us a story that focuses on the idea of an urban legend being true but only if you believe in it does work for horror. Having a revengeful spirit killing from beyond the grave will always add to any tension in horror and having a full investigation that fills in the backstory is all we need from this film’s story to add scares and motivation behind it all.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy of what the Candyman stands for is great and built up wonderfully with the horror coming from nearly any scene the Candyman is in because he will kill in the most brutal way with his hook and haunt the dreams of Helen.

SettingsThe film uses to main settings, the ones that are for Helen’s normal life and the bad side of the tracks if you like which shows the dark world the legend has been built up from.

Special EffectsThe special effects used here brilliant, mostly practical ones as we see the final image of what the real Candyman looks like with bees and all will add even more fear to the performance.

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the most iconic horror movies ever made that shows us all horror from one small legend.

 

Overall: Stunning horror a must watch for any horror fan out there.

Rating

 

 

The Elf (2017)

Director: Justin Price

Writer: Justin Price (Screenplay)

Starring: Natassia Halabi, Gabriel Miller, Lassiter Holmes, Les Best, Joseph Daniel Ellis, Lisa May

 

Plot: Nick is haunted by night terrors stemming from a tragic murder he saw when he was young. After inheriting an old toy shop, he discovers a cursed elf doll sealed inside an ancient chest with a naughty list of his family’s names written on it. He soon discovers that the elf was an evil conduit meant to unleash a supernatural killing spree during the Christmas Holidays by whomever set it free.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Christmas Terror Delight

 

Story: The Elf starts as Nick (Miller) inherits a small toy shop, upon exploring what toys are in the shop, Nick discovers an elf doll with a speech burns a seal onto Nick’s arm once he finishes reading it. Returning home with his girlfriend Victoria (Halabi) the strange elf is in their home which only brings out the nightmares from his childhood.

The night is Christmas Eve and the couple are hosting Victoria’s family for the first time but with the elf turning up looking to cause terror on anybody that is in his way. Can the family be bought together to stop the elf from killing them all?

 

Thoughts on The Elf

 

Characters – Nick is our lead character, he inherits a toy shop from his grandfather but unwittingly unleashes the curse of a demon that uses an elf to do its bidding. His memories of a traumatic childhood still haunt him but this Christmas he will see them in a new light. Victoria is the girlfriend of Nick’s they haven’t been together that long and she still is learning about him but is willing to commit to spending their lives together.

PerformancesWe only focus on Gabriel Miller and Natassia Halabi, Miller is the lead and he is strong throughout the film playing the unstable trauma victim trying to live a normal life. Natassia is also good in her role as the girlfriend putting up with a lot but not taking the spotlight away from the Nick character. The supporting cast all give good performance without getting a chance to be too important to the main story.

StoryThe story follows an evil demonic elf terrorising a family over Christmas Eve as family secrets come out. We get a good backstory to why the elf is killing people over Christmas holidays with two characters that must work together to keep people alive while the personal problems from family try to build a divide between them. We do get a killer twist and the film never dives into comedy which it easily could have.

HorrorThe horror created is well built up through the movie with moments of creepiness, light gore and Christmas kills.

SettingsMost of the horror side of the film is set in and around the house which they family find difficult to escape due to a snow storm, which helps us understand the horror the family will face.

Special EffectsThe effects are great throughout the film with the elf creation and movement looking creepy through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Dealing with Christmas Carollers

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we did need more from the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a delightful Christmas horror movie, this will be your pick for 2017, its got moments of gore and a killer that will make you hate elves.

 

Overall: Great Christmas Horror.

Rating