Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Greasy Strangler (2016)

Director: Jim Hosking

Writer: Toby Harvard, Jim Hosking (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Abdulaye NGom

 

Plot: Ronnie runs a Disco walking tour with his son, Brayden. When a sexy woman takes the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her love. It also signals the arrival of an oily strangler who stalks the streets at night.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Hate My Life

 

Story: The Greasy Strangler starts as we meet Ronnie (Michaels) and his son Brayden (Elobar) who run a walking disco tour which doesn’t get the best number of clients but when Brayden meets one of their clients Janet (De Razzo).

The town is does have a darker side when the mysterious Greasy Strangler kills people around town. Now with Brayden falling in love the Greasy Strangler is piling up his numbers.

 

Thoughts on The Greasy Strangler

 

Characters/PerformanceYou know what, I don’t want to talk about the characters in too much detail, we have the father son dynamic and a girl that is about it.

Performance wise, well some people just weren’t meant to be actors, that seems harsh but when you see this you will wonder how these ‘actors’ can take themselves serious after being in a film this bad.

StoryThere is a story here which mostly follows falling in love with the antisocial people I guess, I am really look for a needle in a haystack here to find anything.

Comedy/HorrorNope and Nope.

SettingsThis is the only remotely positive thing to come from this movie, we have a film that looks at how parts of LA don’t get the attention they once did.

Special EffectsThere are some.

Final ThoughtsThis is the last I will talk about this film, it was so bad I think I may have to give up watching films, just how did this get made?

 

Overall: NEVER SEE THIS FILM.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Director: Rob Hedden

Writer: Rob Hedden (Screenplay) Victor Miller (Characters)

Starring: Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Todd Caldecott, Barbara Bingham, Alex Diakun, Scott Reeves

 

Plot: A boat of graduating high school students bound for Manhattan pulls Jason Voorhees along for the ride. Look out, New York – here comes Hell in a hockey mask.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Questionable Sequel

 

Story: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan starts as we follow two horny teenagers that give us the legend of Jason Voorhees (Hodder) before bringing him back from the dead once more with deadly consequences. Jason is back now and ready to build up his body count.

Moving onto the main characters which are the rest of the classmates going on a post-graduation cruise from Crystal Lake to New York City, teachers Colleen Van Deusen (Bingham) and Charles McCulloch (Richman) with students that include Rennie Wickham (Daggett) and Sean Robertson (Reeves), the cruise is a celebration but Jason tags along too.

When the bodies start piling up the students look to take on Jason heads on but Rennie’s connection to Crystal Lake and Jason proves to be a stumbling block for her and Jason. Arriving in New York things only get worse for the students but Jason gets to pile on the body count with fresh victims.

 

Thoughts on Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

 

Characters/PerformanceRennie is our leading lady that has been through a hard life but showing the promise of making it through with this trip being the final part of her therapy. Jason is the killing machine that gets to interact with his surroundings to find new ways of killing his victims. Sean is the potential love interest for Rennie that is also looking to prove himself to his father. The rest of the characters are all what you would have come to expect from the franchise.

Performance wise, Jensen is a good leading lady with the rest of the cast all doing the job they need to, it is Kane Hodder as the imposing Jason figure that dominates the screen.

StoryThe stories behind the Friday the 13th Films have been easy to follow even if slightly repetitive at times, Jason kills horny teenagers in Crystal Lake, this is all fine, but what if we took things away from the Lake, you know what sounds like a good idea, New York City where Jason only hunts down the few teenagers while ignore anybody else he could kill for fun. Where this film loses any creditability in the story is by having Jason walk by people like whatever only targeting the innocent students, it just doesn’t add up.

Horror/ThrillerSlasher fans will enjoy this because the body count is high but it also isn’t scary in any moments.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the boat heading to New York but once we are in New York you could easily forget it is the Big Apple.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag because the CGI is poor but the practical effects all come off great.

Final ThoughtsWhen you get to the 8th instalment of a film franchise you know you are not going to be having the strongest entry, this has plenty of kills without being one of the best but the boxing kill will be remembered as one of the more memorable ones.

 

Overall: Standard late franchise sequel.

Rating

 

 

Ultimate Justice (2017)

Director: Martin Christopher Bode

Writer: Marco Theiss, Mike Leeder (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Brandon Rhea, Matthias Hues, Mike Moller, Mike Leeder, Wolfgang Riehm

 

Plot: When a family member of one of their own is attacked, a team of former elite soldiers are called back into action and a ruthless game of kill or be killed is set in motion.


Tagline – Brothers in Battle, Friends Forever

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fast Paced Action Film

 

Story: Ultimate Justice starts as we get to see this squad of soldiers, led by Commander (Riehm) with his most trusted friend in the unit being Gus (Dacascos), the pair step away from the field into security where they start their own families. When Commander has his house invasion his wife is murdered and his child taken.

Gus brings back the team, Joe (Leeder), Frank (Hues), Benny (Moller), Henry (Muller), Nicki (Koniestschke) and Flo (Baden) to locate the missing daughter to put the puzzle into who these men are.

 

Thoughts on Ultimate Justice

 

Characters – Gus becomes the leader of the unit once Commander becomes the victim of the crime. He will take a chance save his men when needed while also being able to control them in the heat of the moment. Doc is the member of the unit that has been questioning his motives in the past struggling to be part of the unit again but knows it is for the right cause, he will also get anyone to talk. Benny is the most hands on of the unit, we get to see his fighting style in nearly every fight which is the biggest highlight of all the characters. The unit is large and we have plenty of different styles per character, we have one that’s strength in boxing, one that is tech while another is heavy handheld weapons.

PerformancesMark Dacascos is a good leading member of the team, he keeps the calm when needed but shows us his combat skills when pushes to the limits. Brandon Rhea gets to have the best character arc through the film and we see him deal with the different mindsets his character is in. Mike Moller is the star in the making in this film where he shows the added combat skills which I want to see in more films.

StoryThe story follows an elite group of soldiers must reteam to find the answers to kidnapped one of their children. The easiest way to describe this would be that it has a group like he Expendables. We get an investigation which involves countless grunt or goons to be picked off but this does lead to the biggest weakness in the story, we are never introduced to the main villain until the final scene, so we never get that drive to see our heroes succeed. The story does come off simple and fun to watch though.

ActionThe action is a mix of hand to hand combat and shoot outs, which all work well, the combat shown is a mix of different styles which does entertain.

SettingsThe films settings are not used to the best, we have generic basement, warehouse or quiet location for anything to happen, which in a way works for the criminal underworld but could be largely forgotten.


Scene of the Movie –
Benny and the bikers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a villain’s presence.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to action films, you do need to be able to switch off to enjoy and this film checks those boxes, we have fighting which could make you look away. We do lack a villain but otherwise it will be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

The Snowman (2017)

Director: Tomas Afredson

Writer: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J.K Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Clayton, Toby Jones

 

Plot: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.


Tagline – Soon the first snow will come, and then he will kill again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Twisty Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Snowman starts as we meet alcoholic detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) a once great detective that is lacking the motivation because of the lack of murders and his break up with his long-term girlfriend Rakel (Gainsbourg). He gets a new member of his team Katrine (Ferguson) who has embraced the latest technology in police work and the two start an investigation into a missing woman.

The two have very different backgrounds and the story does jump back to a previous serious of crimes that were being investigated in a different part of Norway, but as the women continue to go missing we are thrown a list of different suspects and mixing this with the personal backgrounds of the two characters we wait to see who the killer is.

 

Thoughts on The Snowman

 

Characters – Harry Hole was once one of the best detectives in Oslo, his cases have been studied be the candidates in the academy, but he has fallen on bad times with a drinking problem and a relationship ending. When the case does come up he is still the first man selected to lead the investigation, this is where we get to see his true skills. Katrine is a rookie that transferred to the department, she uses the technology to make the work easier but slowly we learn about her past and her reasons for being transferred to this department. Rakel is the ex-girlfriend of Harry who they still remain close due to Harry building a relationship with her son. Arve Stop is a political figure running the campaign to get Oslo the Winter World Cup, he does become one of the many suspects. We do meet at least a total of 6 potential suspects which could all have motive for the crime which is nice, but this also means we don’t focus enough on the mind games between the killer and Hole.

PerformancesFassbender is great in the leading role, giving us what we would expect from him without reaching his best of the best level of ability. Rebecca Ferguson is good too, she doesn’t steal the spotlight like she did in Rogue Nation but shows she does have more to her in ability wise. The rest of the cast do well with what they have to work with, even if they don’t get enough screen time to make the impact they could.

StoryThe trailers made this out to be a true mind games based serial killer versus cop movie, this is in fact a lie, we have the slow processes of trying to solve who could be behind this with plenty of suspects along the way. The tease with the note does feel confusing though because it sets up the mind games but doesn’t seem to follow through on them. We do have a lot of side stories going on including Harry’s relationship with Rakel and her son, Katrine’s past and just who is Arve Stop, which doesn’t help us focus on what should be the biggest factor the killer.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crimes do look horrific when we see the full effects of what the killer is doing and his weapon of choice is fresh and terrifying at that. The mystery does keep us guessing through the film but the lack of final punch takes away the horror for me.

SettingsThe settings make this film look beautiful, we have stunning shots of the Norwegian snow cover countryside but once we are in the big cities it all looks the same.


Scene of the Movie –
First learning of the killer weapon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was confusing to figure out if the characters were Norwegian or what.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it does keep us guessing but it does get confusing trying to balance too many side stories, unlike Wind River which deals with the problems head on.

 

Overall: Good but not great snow flake.

Rating