Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Lind, Devon Sawa, Gina Holden, Peter MacNeill, Daina Leitold

 

Plot: Taking place years after The Haunting of Molly Hartley, who now, as an adult, has fallen under the possession of an evil spirit and must be exorcised by a fallen priest before the devil completely takes her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Extreme Exorcism

 

Story: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley starts as we see how young priest Father John Barrow (Sawa) gets led astray during an exorcism, disgraced and banned from the practise. Moving onto meeting Molly Hartley (Lind) celebrating her 24th birthday with a promotion to partner with friends.

When the partying gets out of hand Molly wakes up to two dead bodies with the police ready to arrest her and Molly becoming possessed. Moly finds herself in a religious mental home, the same one where Father Barrow is trying to redeem himself.

Dr Laurie Hawthorne (Holden) tries to treat Molly which includes looking into her past and a previous possession, the only option Laurie can find is to turn to Father Barrow to perform an exorcism inside the mental asylum.

 

Thoughts on The Exorcism of Molly Hartley

 

Characters/PerformanceMolly is the over successful woman in business who finds herself possessed thanks to her past, that seems like all we learn about her. Father Barrow is a priest who wants to make up for his error in a previous exorcism.  Dr Hawthorne is just the doctor trying to get to the bottom of what could be wrong with Molly.

Performance wise, well this is going to be fun, first Sarah Lind just seems to follow every textbook on what an exorcism could look like and nothing more, Devon Sawa at least puts some effort in but doesn’t reach his Final Destination level. Gina Holden also seems to disappear part the way through this film.

StoryExorcism stories are always going to be hard because let’s face it The Exorcist is the granddaddy of them all, so everything just feels like it is trying to keep things up to that level without ever being able too. This story does keep the traditional exorcism routine while trying to balance the idea that she could just be an unstable woman, but sadly this does just fall into the mix of been here seen this, the main reason why I am not the biggest fan of the exorcism sub-genre.

HorrorDo you find exorcism scary, well if the answer is yes then you should get the horror elements out of this, if no you won’t get anything from the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in a mental asylum which does give us a fresh idea of how to treat an exorcism but it doesn’t look into the doctor treatment with this location.

Special EffectsWe have basic special effects for horror but not much is needed for the film.

Final ThoughtsI personally don’t find many exorcism films scary so for me this just didn’t hit the horror marks for me

 

Overall: Simple exorcism film that isn’t memorable enough.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Rand Ravich, Mark Kruger (Screenplay) Clive Barker (Story)

Starring: Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, William O’Leary, Bill Nunn, Matt Clark, David Gianopoulos

 

Plot: The Candyman arrives in New Orleans and sets his sights on a young woman whose family was ruined by the immortal killer years before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good World Building Sequel

 

Story: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh starts with the backstory of Daniel Robitaille (Todd), you know everything we learnt from the last film and how he will come around to haunt you from his myth. This time we are in New Orleans as Ethan Tarrant (O’Leary) wants Philip Purcell an author who has made a profit in books from the Candyman story to pay for failing to help his father.

When Ethan gets arrested for murder, his school teacher sister Annie (Rowan) comes to learn the truth about what happened with tough as nails Detective Ray Levesque (Gianoploulos) wanting to take Ethan down. This time New Orleans are looking to celebrate the Candyman jumping straight into what he wants, people to believe in him once again.

When Annie calls the Candyman she finds herself being the latest victim and must delve deeper into the back story to learn about the legend of the Candyman hoping to stop him once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

 

Characters/PerformanceThe Candyman now striking fear into his audience is back but this time everyone knows about him almost worshiping in New Orleans. He is still a brilliant screen presence killing anyone he feels like killing. Annie is a teacher who is having to investigate the Candyman story to help free her brother from jail and understand her own father’s mysterious death. she is smart when investigating and loyal to her students too. Ethan is the suspect spending most of the film claiming he didn’t do anything.

Performance wise, Tony Todd is still the star of the show still as scary as ever. Kelly Rowan does a good job taking over the leading role but past these two nobody does that well in the performance levels.

StoryThe story can be looked at two ways, the first one is this is a good franchise building story because we get to see the deeper backstory of the Candyman, the second way could be considered the bad way, this is because the Candyman is now a household name that gets celebrated which doesn’t make sense after the first film. it also has a lot of filling to reminding us what we learn in the first film. the story is easy to follow and as a franchise I do think this is a good addition to what we have come to know of the Candyman.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy elements of the Candyman story are the same as last time with a human backstory now but the horror doesn’t reach the levels of before because the Candyman isn’t as secretive as before.

SettingsMoving the settings to New Orleans is a mixed bag as well for me, the spiritual beliefs around the city do add to the mythology behind the Candyman but it also works the other way because they are celebrating him here, which goes against what we learn in the first film.

Special EffectsMost of the practical effects all come off well here but the couple of uses of the CGI do leave us questioning moments in the film.

Final ThoughtsAs a horror fan I liked the deeper backstory because if offers plenty of sequel potential but I also think this film doesn’t offer enough on the true scare factor the first one did, in fact this film goes out of its way to do the mirror scene while the first I believe only did it once.

 

Overall: I have rated this high because I think the Candyman can strike terror into nearly anybody.

Rating

 

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Characters)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks

 

Plot: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Breath-Taking Movie

 

Story: Blade Runner 2049 starts as we learn how the Nexus models of replicants are no more, Niander Wallace (Leto) has developed the new models to continue the slavery needed for humans but these all obey, Officer K (Gosling) is one of the models a new Blade Runner hunting down the original replicants that have been able to survive past their expire dates.

K’s latest case takes him to Sapper Morton (Bautista) living well off the grid as a quiet gardener, but he tells him about a miracle he will never understand. K starts to investigate the mystery with his Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) supporting the investigation but Niander Wallace has his best agent Luv (Hoeks) also looking for truth which involves searching for Rick Deckard (Ford)

 

Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

 

Characters – Officer K is a replicant upgrade that tracks down the Nexus models, he is the smart figure that we need to see in an investigation movie but in his free time he has a relationship with his artificial life Joi. K gets drawn into an investigation to find the answers to what could be a miracle in the modern world and his cases takes him all over America. Niander Wallace is the man that has been making the new replicants that obey, his genius has saved the planet but when he learns about the miracle he knows it can take his creations to the next level. Luv is the main employee of Niander’s chasing down K looking to take advantage of the miracle, she is deadly killing anyone who gets in her way. Rick Deckard has the answers to what is behind the miracle but we don’t meet him until late into the movie. Joi the artificial intelligence that keeps K company who constantly is looking for a way to become real.

PerformancesRyan Gosling is fantastic in the leading role of this movie showing he can carry a blockbuster just as well as an indie movie. Harrison Ford returning gives us a chance to see him back at his best which is why him returning to his popular films is working in recent years, here to hope for a good Indiana Jones sequel. Jared Leto is great when we see him but I do wish we had more scenes with his character. Sylvia Hoeks is the true surprise package here and she is fantastic in all her scenes and being an actress, I hadn’t heard of before she proves she could be in many leading roles to come. Ana De Armas is also great in her role stepping away from the normal for what I know her for in horror to be the ones that wants to survive. The cast has plenty of big name actors from different years they are all great through this film.

StoryThe story here is an investigation into what happened after the original movie, yes, it is 30 years later but the moments we learn off from the investigation explain how this moment is the answer to the power struggle being played for by this investigation. We can look past just the investigation though because we have K’s quest to understand one of his memories, Joi’s desire to be real and Niander’s mission to hold the key to making replicants in a more efficient way. The positive if that the story is told in a linear pattern because we could have easily jump around the time line for this film but it is simple to follow as you are left to guess just what will be happening next.

Sci-FiIn a world of replicants, other worlds (though we don’t go or see them) where humans have all but destroyed Earth, this movie couldn’t be anymore sci-fi even if it wanted to, a near perfect use of the sci-fi elements.

SettingsThe world created is visually stunning, be it the tight compact living spaces or the open land destroyed by war, each setting will take you breath away with the visual look of everything.

Special EffectsThe special effects are easily the best any film will use this year, they are truly amazing whether it be the world creating or how Joi blends into each scene she is in. this is a treat on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Deckard’s introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels very long.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best visual movie of the year, it has wonderful performances from everyone involved, a story that keeps you guessing, the only down side is the run time which you do feel even when you are engrossed into the story.

 

Overall: Stunning visual movie that will take your breath away.

Rating