Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Haunt (2014)

Director: Mac Carter

Writer: Andrew Barrer (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato, Jacki Weaver, Ione Skye, Brian Wimmer


Plot: An introvert teen befriends his new neighbor, and together the couple begin to explore the haunted house that his family has just purchased.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid but Forgettable Horror


Story: Haunt starts as the Asher’s Evan (Gilbertson), Emily (Skye), Alan (Wimmer), Sara (Chuchran) and Anita (Harris) move into a massive new home, known for the Morello Curse where the family were nearly all killed in strange unexplained suicides apart from Janet (Weaver) the mother of the family.

Evan is the teenage son of the family and finds himself in the room where one of the suicides happened and after meeting fellow teenager and outsider Sam (Liberato) the two become close friends. Evan and Sam discover the equipment to communicate with the dead and soon find themselves talking and being visited by the ghosts of the Morello’s.


Thoughts on Haunt


Characters/PerformanceEvan is the son of the family that finds himself living in the room that previously had a murder, now after his family moves him there, he has no friends but soon makes one in Sam as he starts to learn the haunting side of the home. Sam is the local girl that has been dealing with abuse at home and sees Evan as her escape from that world. Janet is the doctor and lone survivor of the Morello Curse that has haunted the home.

Performance wise, Harrison Gilbertson is good in the leading role as the curious teen as is Liana Liberato through the film. the performance are all fine through the film.

StoryThe story focuses around the idea of a haunted house that a new family moves into and becomes the latest targets of the spirits haunting the home, well we have seen this before and this tie we don’t get to learn too much new in this film either, it plays out like an ABC of haunted house movies and you could see plenty of better ones.

Horror/Mystery/Romance The horror in this film mostly comes from slow building scenes that then turn into jump scares that don’t click to their full amount while there is a mystery behind everything but it isn’t the most difficult thing to solve and the early romance is fine but nothing overly serious.

SettingsMost of the film is set in this one house and this is an easy setting choice for a film about a haunted house, we don’t need to leave it because the scary stuff only happens in the house.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed mostly because some are good others look weak even though the film is trying to create its own look.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that is similar to better ones so the simple way of looking at it is to say look at The Conjuring for the better option.


Overall: Simple Horror




Great Expectations (2012)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: David Nicholls (Screenplay) Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Toby Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, William Ellis, David Walliams, Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter


Plot: A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic story


Story: Great Expectation starts as we meet the orphaned boy Pip, living with his sister and brother in law Joe (Flemyng) a blacksmith raising Pip to be his assistant. After Pip learns of a better life he dreams of becoming a gentleman in London after spending time with Miss Havisham (Carter) and her own orphan Estella.

Now a young man Pip (Irvine) gets to move back to the city after an unknow inheritance, so leaving his family and friends behind, Pip gets to start on the road to becoming a gentleman. Pip finds himself needing to learning the hierarchy of the wealthy as he also wants to know who gave him the chance to become one of the gentlemen of the city and even after his childhood sweetheart Estella (Grainger) returns to his life, love takes over his life.


Thoughts on Great Expectation


Characters/PerformancePip is a young man who dreamt of being a gentleman in London, but achieve this he must learn a new way, forget his past and even find himself wondering about who put him in a position of power while dealing with love. Magwitch is a prisoner that Pip helped at a young age and a man that comes back into the life to learn the truth about the past. Miss Havisham is a lonely woman left heartbroken after being conned and left at the alter, she has been teaching Estella about the ways of the man, teaching her to never love. Estella is the young woman that Pip falls in love with when they are children and no as adults doesn’t believe she has a heart even though Pip wants to love her.

Performance wise, we have a very impressive cast that all give us wonderful performances fitting into the period piece that this film is.  

StoryThis is one of Charles Dickens classics tales and one I was unfamiliar with, so I thought I would give it a go. This story shows the social hierarchy during the early 19 century, this is one that has forbidden love, revenge and a position of what would be the right thing in life. I do feel this is one story people should be enjoy even if this might not be the best version.

RomanceThe romance side of this comes from Pip falling for Estella and is left wondering if he could fall in love during a time when status would put people together.

SettingsEach setting makes us believe we are in the time the film is set whether it be the small marsh like area of the city of London.

Final ThoughtsClassic story and one that goes in a direction you could only find yourself wanting to know more about.


Overall: A must watch for classic literature fans.




Cruel Summer (2016)

Director: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman

Writer: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Natalie Martins, Gary Knowles, Grace Dixon, Richard Pawulski


Plot: Young Autism sufferer Danny enjoys the serenity and solitude of camping. That’s all about to change when enraged teens Nicholas, Calvin and Julia find him, each with their own agenda for wanting to see Danny suffer.

Tagline – One Day Changes Everything

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Disturbing Throughout


Story: Cruel Summer starts as we follow Danny (Pawulski) an autistic young man that is setting out on his own camping trip to get his Duke of Edinburgh award. On the otherwise of town, Nicolas (Miller) is dumped by his girlfriend and turns to his friend Julia (Martins) who tells him about his girlfriend slept with Danny, which drives him into a rage, recruiting Calvin (Douglas) with a story about how Danny is a paedophile, the three go out searching for him to teach him a lesson.

As Danny sets up his camp, his day and night seem to look perfect, but Nicholas is searching for him, promising to not let Danny leaving the countryside and with his friends following him it is left to see just how far Nicholas will go.


Thoughts on Cruel Summer


Characters – Danny is the autistic young man, he keeps to himself and this weekend he wants to have a solo camping trip, this gives him part of life others wouldn’t enjoy. Nicholas is the hot headed teenager that gets enraged when he believes his girlfriend slept with Danny, he is aggressive with all walks of life, stealing and wanting to hurt and kill Danny. Julia is the friend of Nicholas, she is willing to follow him on anything she does because of her obsession with him, lying to help him and not stopping him before he goes too far. Calvin is new the neighbourhood, he gets talk into going along with the Nicholas but once he learns the truth he doesn’t want anything to do with it.

PerformancesRichard is solid in the leading role but you do feel he over plays the autism in places. Danny Miller is the best performer as the completely out of control teenager, with Natalie and Reece being good in the supporting roles.

StoryThis is sold as being inspired on real events and sadly you believe this could happen in the world, someone going too far when it comes to not liking disabilities people have. This is a very dark story, it shows how far people can go with drink influencing their decisions while out of control in their own minds. The story does however take its time to lead up to the attack.

Horror/ThrillerWhat happens to Danny is horrific to say the least, how this one person could have this much hate isn’t acceptable in any world, this drives the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe settings show us how the teenage generation struggle to find things to affordable do that don’t involve destruction in the rougher neighbourhoods. The countryside setting shows us just how isolated it makes things for Danny.

Special EffectsThe effects are not needed, everything is an off camera where we only see the aftermath.

Scene of the Movie –
The pick up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subject is the only thing that is annoying, as we know people might act like this in real life.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting horror drama, it shows an horrific crime and the reason behind it being pathetic for the people involved. This isn’t going to be an easy watch though.


Overall: Disturbing horror.




ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wrestler (2008)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Robert D Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens


Plot: A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.

Tagline – Love. Pain. Glory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Modern Great


Story: The Wrestler starts as we follow Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Rourke) a once icon of the wrestling business, still working small events where he is the star attraction but struggling to make ends meet on the payment for his own trailer park home. Randy is close with the everyday people in his life and has his own go to stripper Cassidy (Tomei).

One night after another show stealing performance Randy suffers a heart-attack where he is warned not to continue wrestling or it will kill him. Randy tries to rekindle his broken relationship with his daughter Stephanie (Wood) while balancing the idea that he could have one final big payday, a rematch against his biggest rival.


Thoughts on The Wrestler


Characters – Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson was once the biggest name in wrestling, now he is nearing retirement where he still performs in small venues. His life is turned upside down after a heart attack where he must decide whether to step away from the limelight or continue performing and risking his health. As a wrestling fan this is an interesting character as it shows just how far someone with go to perform for their fans. Cassidy is the stripper that Randy has become friends with over the years, she keeps her personal life away from the clients but when Randy wants to make their friendship more it turns into a pivotal moment in her life too. Stephanie is the daughter of Randy, he was a terrible father when she grew up, but can she forgive him to start a fresh now, that is the question.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does give the performance of his career here, he breaks away from anything we would know him to make us feel everything we see him go through. Marisa Tomei is great as the stripper with a heart and Evan Rachel Wood continued to show us just how talented she was in her growing career of the time.

StoryThe story follows an aging star of a sport needing to face his own mortality or face losing everything. This is a subject which has always been a popular subject because it is icons who are the ones feel could never finish but once they are gone we miss them. Seeing it from the performers point of view works too because we learn what drives them in the one skill they always believed they had.

SportsThe wrestling sequences do give away secrets of the sport which are well known by now but at the time they were lesser known skills outside the business, but the fights feel as brutal as they seem.

SettingsThe settings show us just how far the once star has fallen from grace, he is now not the man he once was living in trailer park, fighting in small events over the big events he once did.

Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Match Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great movies of modern time, it shows the drive performers have to continue doing what they love when they shouldn’t anymore which is why this is a must watch for anyone who has a passion.


Overall: Must watch for all wrestling fans.