Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Dawn of the Dead (1978)

dawnDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H Reinigner, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France


Plot: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Ultimate Classic Zombie Movie


Story: Dawn of the Dead starts as we see the panic of the original outbreak of the zombies where Stephen (Emge) trying to arrange Francine (Ross) to join him in getting out of the town. While they plan their escape police units are planning a bust on building where Roger (Reiniger) and Peter (Foree) form an alliance to escape the undead waves.

The four head off in a helicopter as they get to witness the destruction going on across America. Searching for safety the survivors find themselves coming across a new shopping mall, all locked up with few zombies inside.

Finding the mall has everything they need to survive the four survivors plan to clean out the mall before making it their safety zone as they see the number of zombies grow each day outside the mall.

Dawn of the Dead takes a look at the wave of consumers that took over America with the shopping malls being built which drove people to these malls over the small town business. Think of it like them all acting like zombies being pushed in one direction. This is the big political message behind this film which gets see loud and clear now. I do think this is one of the most interesting and best zombie movies ever made with the fact the group find what is an actual safe place and continue to make it safer for their survival. The special effects as terrifying for the time where we see the zombies take literally bites out of the people like they are pieces of cake.


Overall: Easily the greatest zombie film ever put to film.




Dog Soldiers (2002)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, Liam Cunningham, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt, Chris Robson


Plot: A routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: One of the Best Werewolf Films


Story: Dog Soldiers starts as we follow military unit led by Sgt Harry Wells (Pertwee) on a training mission in the Scotish wilderness, in his team is Private Cooper (McKidd) who has been rejected by the special forces Captain Ryan (Cunningham) but this does make him the strongest member of the unit.

When the men get attacked they learn Captain Ryan has been on a mission within in same location hunting something down and they soon meet these creates, werewolves hunting at night in the wilderness of Scotland, this is no longer a training mission and the men must show their skills to survive the night.


Thoughts on Dog Soldiers


Characters – Sgt Wells is running his military unit through a routine training exercise, he shows his strength in leadership even if Cooper is the best soldier in the unit. Private Cooper is soldier who missed out on special forces even though he has all the skills to be one of their best, returned to the small unit he must take control of the situation when the werewolves attack. Megan is seemingly a random woman in the woods but she has a connection to the bigger picture studying the werewolves. Captain Ryan is the leader of the special forces unit and has been involved in hunting the werewolves down, he is fully behind the cause over the right thing.

PerformanceSean Pertwee in the lead soldier role is something he becae famous for because he talks the shit needed as well as getting the respect from his unit and in the early 2000s no one did it better. Kevin McKidd is great is the super soldier that knows how to battle against anything thing that gets in his way. Emma Cleasby is an actress that seemed to fall of the face of the Earth after this performance which she did a good job in. Liam Cunningham as the villainous soldier is something we know he can do and we all like to just sit and listen to him talk.

StoryGroup of soldiers must fight against werewolves over a one-night period, well that is the core of this story and it works perfectly, keeping things simple. We do have a couple of twists along the way which work and are fine for the story but overall we didn’t need to see anything overly complicated for this movie.

Action/HorrorThe action is all bullets flying and blood spattering off the walls, this is a good use of the action horror genre because we might not get jump scares but we have the threat to the soldiers in werewolf form.

SettingsMost of the film is set in one location, a house in the middle of the woods, we make sure the communications are lost and the nearly location is too far away to make this a fully enjoyable isolated location for our characters.

Special EffectsFilled with most practical effects we see our soldiers and werewolves in battle in what is one of the best uses of the mix since American Werewolf in London.

Scene of the Movie – House goes Boom.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment In the opening sequence we have campers killed, then we move back 2 hours earlier in a different location before going forward 4 weeks. This just seems like overkill.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best modern-day werewolf films if not the best.


Overall: Enjoyable horror rush.




Jigsaw (2017)

Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Writer: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bll, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson, Cle Bennett, Laura Vandervoort


Plot: Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for ten years.

Tagline –  His Legacy Becomes Yours

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Terrible Forced Reboot


Story: Jigsaw starts as we follow Detective Halloran (Rennie) answering a call about a man who is planning on setting off a trigger, claiming it would start a game. When the game starts we follow five people trapped in Jigsaw’s latest game.

Outside the game Halloran and Detective Hunt (Bennett) work with coroners Logan Nelson (Passmore) and Eleanor (Anderson) helping investigate bodies that have been turning up which seem like Jigsaw has returned. We are left to figure out whether Jigsaw has returned or is it a copycat killer.


Thoughts on Jigsaw


Characters – Logan Nelson is a coroner that is also a war veteran, who has lost his wife too. He has worked with Hunt before and ends up trying to help solve the mystery about Jigsaw. John Kramer is the man behind the voice, but is he back, that is the mystery behind the film. Detective Halloran is a hot-headed cop that has a bad reputation but is now solving the mystery the best he can. Eleanor is the assistant to Logan, she has a twisted secret that makes her one of the suspects. Detective Hunt is the best dressed cop ever, who brings Logan into the investigation knowing he is a good man, he also must face the press when the stories break. These characters are the main suspects on who it could be, but we know Saw franchise it could be anyone in the frame of the movie.

PerformancesThe performances for the Saw movies are always the big question marks because they have declined over years, this time the players in the game are almost laughable. The detectives are solid enough and the coroners work, I feel like Cle Bennett is the star of the show.

StoryThe story, well here we go, Jigsaw might be back but who is behind his versions of the new deaths? That is where the film is set-up. The brings the problems, John 100% can’t still be alive he had his throat slit in previous film. The film relies on the twists but it just don’t connect the way it should, we should have some connection to The Final Chapter as we have always had that in the franchise. This is a giant missed opportunity with one of the worst scripts I have seen in a Saw movie.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is all gore which is you want that works, the mystery is who could be the killer which is fine but pushes us too heavily in certain directions when we know a twist will come.

SettingsThe settings also feel off for the franchise, I know it is meant to be a new look idea which is fine but having the city-wide look just feels like it isn’t connected again.

Special EffectsThe special effects are the highlight of the film, with some great looking kills but we needed more from the story to enjoy these.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me That twist.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the worst in the franchise, it misses all the marks, has a game that makes no sense because it relies too heavily on certain things happening, it also has a twist that will frustrate many fans and no feeling of connection to the previous film.


Overall: Just Game Over Please.