Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Hannibal Rising (2007)

Director: Peter Webber

Writer: Thomas Harris (Screenplay) Thomas Harris (Novel)

Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Li Gong, Dominic West, Kevin McKidd


Plot: After the death of his parents during World War II, young Hannibal Lecter moves in with his beautiful aunt and begins plotting revenge on the barbarians responsible for his sister’s death.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Prequel That Doesn’t Click


Story: Hannibal Rising starts when we meet a young Hannibal, his family live in a castle in Lithuania during World War II. When the war comes to their home they try to ride it out in the cabin in the woods but tragedy strikes and his parents are killed. Left to look after his younger sister Mischa, Hannibal finds himself trapped with evil soldier Vladis Grutas (Ifans) occupying their home and things will only get worse for him.

8 years later we see Hannibal (Ulliel) now a mute living in his castle but it is now an orphanage for the victims of war, tried of how he is being treated he escapes to find his Aunt Lady Murasaki (Gong) who takes him in, giving him a future. Hannibal studies to become a doctor and shines in that field but what he is really up to, is searching for the soldiers that are responsible for his sister’s death, so he can make them pay, which does grab the attention of war criminal inspector Popil (West) who is also wanting to make the evil pay.


Thoughts on Hannibal Rising


Characters/PerformanceHannibal is a character we all know from the Silence of the Lambs, one of the most iconic figures of film history. Now we get to learn why he was like this as we see the horrors of war leave him the lone survivor of his immediate family thanks to war horrors, he goes out to get revenge on the people responsible proving he was emotionless all along. Lady Murasaki is the Aunt that takes Hannibal in, she has lost her family through the war too and the two work together to get the revenge. Vladis Grutas is the evil soldier who used war for his own profit killing anyone who got in his way. Inspector Popil is tracking war criminals across Europe, slightly more legally than Hannibal.

Performance wise, Gaspard Ulliel is good as the emotionless killer, he shows a man with nothing left to live for. Li Gong is good but only in the smaller supporting role. Rhys Ifans always makes for a good villain and this time we get to see him in the lead villain role.

StoryThe story behind one of the great screen characters of all time will always be a test because we will be left wondering do we need to know his origin story? The answer here turns Hannibal into a full blown vigilante which could work for a fresh approach for a film but giving this to Hannibal come off feeling slightly short.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story is all in the revenge side of film as we see how Hannibal sets out to avenge his sister’s murder. The thriller tries to keep us on edge but fails to achieve this on all levels.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different places war criminals could hide out in, we get to see just how main different places Hannibal must look to find those responsible.

Special EffectsAll the effects come off very well making us truly understand what just happened with the moment of horror.

Final ThoughtsThis is a prequel that just doesn’t seem to click the way you would like it all to, we didn’t need to learn more about Hannibal’s early days, but this could be a fantastic thriller for an original character.


Overall: A film we didn’t need but one that could have worked.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Shrine (2010)

Director: Jon Knautz

Writer: Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore, Trevor Matthews (Screenplay) Jon Knautz, Brendon Moore (Story)

Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Meghan Heffern, Trevor Matthews, Vieslav Krystyan, Laura de Carteret


Plot: Two female journalists and a photographer travel to Europe to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances, only to find themselves embroiled in a struggle against a kind of evil they never expected.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Easy but not Shocking Horror


Story: The Shrine starts as young ambitious reporter Carmen (Sampson) learns of a string of missing people in a small town in Poland, going against her bosses wishes she takes her boyfriend Marcus (Ashmore) and her intern Sara (Heffern) to this Polish town.

Getting a less than warm welcome, the three find themselves pushed to leave, but Carmen’s determination to get a story puts their lives in danger once they enter a mysterious mist or fog surrounding one part of the forest. When their snooping gets them into trouble the three will learn what is really happening in this small town.


Thoughts on The Shrine


Characters/PerformanceMarcus is a photography boyfriend of Carmen who reluctantly agrees to go on the trip to help their relationship but does believe it’s all for work, he isn’t happy when he learns the truth but will fight to save Carmen’s life. Carmen is the ambitious reporter that brings her team to this small town in search of answers about disappearances through the years. She will do anything for the story. Sara is an intern working for Carmen that see this story as a chance to get ahead in her career but her naïve nature leaves her being designed as the disposable one of the three. The cult figures are all what you would expect in a film like this not coming off overly original in anyway.

Performance wise, Aaron Ashmore is fine without hitting the heights we know he can, the same goes for the whole cast, they are fine without being great.

StoryThe story is easily a by the book horror, group of Americans find themselves in a new country where they must fight to survive against the enemy there. It offers very little new to the world of storytelling and is easily an ABC into horror.

HorrorThis falls into the horror genre of being captured and needing to survive, the only scare comes from not knowing an easy way out of trouble they find themselves in.

SettingsThe remote town works on two fronts, it helps with the budget and shows us just how trapped our characters will be.

Special EffectsAll of the effects come off very basic, they are not needed too often and work when required.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple horror that can be enjoyed without being overly impressive but can be enjoyed by the horrors fans out there.


Overall: One for late night tv




A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour (Screenplay)

Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Maranadi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marno, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo


Plot: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Beautifully Shot Modern Day Vampire Classic


Story: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night starts in a small Iranian town as we follow the drug culture sweeping through the city with Saeed (Rains) supplying all the drugs as Arash (Marandi) does all he can to help his junkie father Hossein (Manesh).

When a mysterious girl (Vand) arrives in the town she appears only at night searching for her victims as her addiction isn’t a drug but the blood of humans, she is a vampire that hunts on the bad people sparing the innocent ones, but she must work out just who are the innocent.


Thoughts on A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night


Characters/PerformanceThe Girl is a very mysterious character, she stalks the people of the town at night as she witnesses the good and bad people do, but when she starts to see the grey in people’ actions she aims to learn more about who they really are before selecting her victims. Arash is a young man who works for a drug dealer to support his father’s addiction, he finds himself deep in the world once the Pimp of the town is killed but also having a connection to the mysterious girl. Hossein is the junkie hooked on the drug going around the town pushing his son away as his addiction is taking control of his life pushing him towards the bad ways.

Sheila is brilliant as the vampire girl that hunts for her victims, she is filled it the beauty of the innocence needed for the role and the fear needed for the feeding scenes. Arash Marandi is also great in this role showing how he could be going down the wrong path as well as seeing the light of a new future at the end of the tunnel.

StoryThe story is easy to follow, we have a small town drowning in sin, be it drugs, prostitution of just general depression. We also have a girl, well a vampire who comes into town to search for victims that have been sinning as she spares the innocent. This is a fresh approach to the vampire genre one that keeps us curious as to her actions throughout the film.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of this film comes from a vampire cleaning up a town, yes this isn’t overly great but it works. The horror side comes from the overall creepiness created by the mysterious girl’s appearance as we know just how deadlier she can be and watching her stalk the victims in just as frightening.

SettingsThe settings used are all within one small town that is one you can see people in their weakest states in, there is nothing pretty about this town it is down, dirty and full of people ready to give up on life.

Special EffectsThe special effects are not used that often but when they are we are left to see how the vampire attacks come off.

Final ThoughtsThis film has an excellent us of music to describe the tone of each scene, the black and white shooting is also a brilliant touch for the film, the fresh spin on vampires is another plus and I can safely say you should believe the hype on this film.


Overall: Easily one of the best modern day vampire films.






Do the ‘monster mash’ this Halloween with the home entertainment premiere of horror-comedy Live-Evil, starring Vladimir Kulich (TV’s Vikings), Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother) and horror icon Tony Todd (Candyman#FromJennifer).

‘’Ghostbusters meets Dawn of the Dead caught in the Twilight Zone’’ (Nerdly) in writer-director Ari Kirschenbaum’s “unique, visually entertaining” (We Live Entertainment) horror romp, arriving on VOD this Halloween from Simian Tales.

When a small college town police station is besieged by “Evil” on a sleepy Halloween night, Pete, the sheriff, and Hancock, his loyal deputy, are thrown into the middle of holy chess-game that could destroy the town, and possibly the world.

Vincent M. Ward (TV’s The Walking Dead), J. Richey Nash (Bat $#*! Crazy) and Karen Wheeling Reynolds (Logan Lucky) co-star.

Live-Evil will be available on Amazon this Halloween 10/31 with other platforms to follow.