Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Monster Hunter (2014)

Director: Jack Heller

Writer: Tyler Hisel (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Durand, Lukas Haas, Bianca Kajlich, Nick Damici, Heath Freeman

 

Plot: An evil is unleashed in a small town when a logging company sets up shop in the neighboring woods.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Late Night Horror

 

Story: Monster Hunter starts as Sheriff Paul Shields (Durand) and his latest partner from the big city Donny (Haas) investigating mysterious hoof prints that walk like a man going through the town before vanishing in the woods. Paul and his ex-wife Susan (Kajlich) have been suffering since the accidental death of their son, in what is a religious heavy town.

With the town in fear believing there is some form of devil creature lurking in the town Sheriff Shields looks into American Folklore for answers that could be related to the Jersey Devil myth.

 

Thoughts on Monster Hunter

 

Characters/PerformanceSheriff Paul Shields is a grief filled man who lost a son, this has cost him his marriage but not his role in town, he now must use his skills to search for the mysterious creature lurking in the shadows. Donny Saunders in the new deputy in town, he comes from New York for a fresh start in a quieter town. Susan is the wife of Paul that has found herself being pushed away after the death of their son. The problem with a lot of the characters in this film is they are designed to fit the world but we don’t learn much else about their position in the town.

Performance wise, Kevin Durand in the leading role is a delight to see as he is always great in supporting roles and now he can step out on his own leading a film which he does a good job throughout. Lukas Haas is good in the supporting role through the film but doesn’t get enough screen time and Bianca just does feel out of place at times.

StorySmall town needing to defend themselves from an unknown creature, this works because it plays into folklore building on a mystery that has never been solved ‘The Devil’s Footprints’. It also shows us how the community would come together for safety putting aside their differences to fight a bigger threat. It may well be by the book stuff but if you like a horror then it is one to watch.

HorrorThe horror comes in the form of a creature feature style monster lurking around a small town in search of food which works for the horror side because the tension is picked up when needed but also willing to give the audience a breath when needed.

SettingsThe small town setting plays heavily into the direction of the film which becomes all the more enjoyable as we know it is the small community needing to fight back.

Special EffectsThe effects are good with the creature creation which we only seen in moments instead of just throwing it towards us early on, as we learn more we discover more of its design.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good creature feature that has one of the better final acts in the genre which keeps you on edge through each moment.

 

Overall: Good and enjoyable creature feature.

Rating

 

 

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The Lullaby (2018)

Director: Darrell Roodt

Writer: Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo (Screenplay)

Starring: Brandon Auret, Reine Swart, Deanre Reiners, Thandi Puren, Samuel Frauenstein, Dorothy Ann Gould

 

Plot: Chloe is overwhelmed by the birth of her first child. The incessant crying of her baby, the growing sense of guilt and paranoia sends her into depression. With a heightened urge to protect her son, Chloe sees danger in every situation. She starts to hear voices, the humming of a childhood lullaby and sees flashes of a strange entity around her child. Convinced that the entity is real, Chloe will do everything in her power to protect her son. Is she haunted by evil or is it just the baby blues?

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Creep Filled Horror

 

Story: The Lullaby starts as we meet Chloe (Swart) a new mother of little baby Liam, her only option is to return home to her mother Ruby (Puren) after years away from each other. With Chloe starts making naïve mothering mistakes, she needs to start learning quickly and reluctantly take her mother’s advice.

Soon things start getting strange though, as Chloe starts suffering horrific visions of hurting Liam, before the ghostly figure appears to be trying to claim Liam, by making Chloe try to hurt Liam, can she escape the evil before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on The Lullaby

 

Characters – Chloe is the young mother, she ran away from home at a teenage age, but returns as a single mother, clearly not ready for this role in life. She does however want to do her best for her baby, but when an evil presence tries to take over her to kill her baby she must fight back the best she can. Ruby is Chloe’s mother, that tries to offer advice, but also give her the space to achieve the motherly goals, the two don’t have the best relationship and this shows with their conversations. Adam is an old friend of Chloe’s that offers friendship but we don’t see much from him, much like Dr Reed, he tries to help both the women through the situation due to his old friendship with the family.

PerformancesWhen we dive into the performances, there is a stand out here and that is Reine Swart as Chloe, this is mostly because she is in every pivotal scene of the movie and must show us a character that is starting to lose her mind. This doesn’t take away from the rest of the cast which all do their jobs well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a young woman that must come to terms with motherhood, while she battles her own sanity when she believes something is after her baby. This story does keep us guessing along the way, as we get very few clues to just what the true answer is, this is nice to watch because just when you think you know the answer, the question gets changed. Unlikely many other movies in the ‘new baby changes life horror genre’ this doesn’t just follow the basic trends and makes you understand character (well Chloe and Ruby’s) decisions.

HorrorThe horror used in the movie is a nice mix of sub-genres, we have the jump scares, the gore and the unsettling moments and you will not know which one is coming next.

SettingsThe film mostly takes place inside the family home, which helps as we see Chloe dive into her own paranoia.

Special EffectsThe effects are good, with practical ones that come off look real and with smart use of camera work don’t get thrown in our face.


Scene of the Movie –
The Figure visits, in all honest I feel each scene is great with the figure in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Adam needed more development or not to be included.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us a good horror about a mother potentially losing her mind, we have good jump scare moments, well done gore and a wonderful performance from Reine Swart.

 

Overall: Creepy, disturbing horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – Bridesmaids (2011)

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rebel Wilson

 

Plot: Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride’s best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard and Forgettable

 

Story: Bridesmaids starts as we meet Annie (Wiig) a woman down on her luck, be it love or in business, her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged leading to Annie needing to meet Lillian’s other friends including biggest rival Helen (Byrne) and the mother of three Rita (McLendon-Covey), newlywed Becca (Kemper), loud mouth future sister in law Megan (McCarthy) as they prepare for the big day.

As the wedding planning continues Helen and Annie’s rivalry increases as Annie is forced into going to Vegas with the rest of the bridesmaids as the wedding day comes closer.

 

Thoughts on Bridesmaids

 

Characters – Annie is the woman watching how her best friend is getting married with a new group of friends where she doesn’t fit in with as much, she isn’t having her own luck in love either and her career is gone down the drain. Lillian is the one getting married, she must remain calm as her friends look to become friends with each other. Helen is the rival friend, she comes from money showing Lillian a different life than the one she would have without Annie around, Helen does seem to be trying to replace Annie. We have three other bridesmaids that all have their unique personas with the married with kids one, the newlywed and the crazy one that gets most of the laughs.

PerformanceKristen Wiig is good in the main role as the woman whose life is falling apart or never where she wanted to be. Maya Rudolph gives the most natural performance in the film never trying to grab a laugh like most of the rest of the cast. Rose Byrne continues to show he ability to dive into different roles. I am hugely confused why people went mad over Melissa McCarthy’s performance in this film got an Oscar nomination it was nothing memorable.

StoryThe story focuses on one woman whose life isn’t going the way she thought it would be, the engagement of her best friend seems to be the final straw, we do get to see how friendships can get tested to levels as time goes by and friends make new friends, a problem we all go through but in the end we get a lot of filler for the supporting bridesmaids in the film, that doesn’t connect to Annie which the story hints at it being her reaction to most things.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does feel like it misses on the most part, we get a couple of good laughs but otherwise the jokes feel very forced.

SettingsThe settings mostly come off as misses as nothing becomes overly iconic in anyway which leaves us not sure where certain parts of the movie are set.

Scene of the Movie – Most of John Hamm’s scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hype doesn’t live up to it.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that I only heard good things about and I couldn’t happen to think it was overrated and boring in places.

 

Overall: Standard comedy that doesn’t hit very often.

Rating