Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Downhill (2016)

Director: Patricio Valladares

Writer: Barry Keating (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Burn, Ignacia Allamand, Bryce Draper, Ariel Levy, Luke Massy, Matias Lopez

 

Plot: After his best friend dies in a racing accident, biking star Joe agrees to go back on the wheels for an exhibition in Chile. On a test run with his girlfriend Stephanie, they stumble upon a badly injured man dying from a mysterious virus. That’s the start of a very bad day for them as they become the target of relentless killers ready to do anything to keep their secret to go out of the mountains.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Downhill starts when downhill biker Joe (Draper) watches his best friend die in a competitive race, he closes off but when another professional and friend Pablo (Levy) talks him into going to Chile with his girlfriend Stephanie (Burn) for an exhibition race.

When Joe and Stephanie are on a practise run they find themselves saving a stranger only to find they are going to become the latest targets in a twisted hunting trip by the locals.

 

Thoughts on Downhill

 

Characters/PerformanceJoe is the former downhill cyclists who is talked out of his retirement for an exhibition, we find he is grieving for his best friend but we also learn that he isn’t as clean cut as he comes across. Stephanie is the girlfriend of Joe that pushes him out of retirement and general helps with the social media side of things. Magdalena is the girlfriend of Pablo the guy who gets Joe out of retirement, that is pretty much her character.

Performance wise, I think the two leads do suffer with a lack of chemistry which doesn’t help with their performances. I do feel we could have better through the film.

StoryThe story does start of routine, out of towners get trapped by locals who hunt down the tourists. We know the survival horror angle works and we get good shots with the cyclists but I feel the film saves the better angle until too late in the film with what is going on with the hunters. This could have and does become the best part of the movie.

Action/Horror/SportsThe action side of the movie does come from the race to survive which does also include the sports side of things. The horror comes with being hunted down and just the bigger picture.

SettingsThe settings put us in the Chilean countryside where the hunting can happen if there was nowhere to run for the characters, we don’t get any stunning views though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well for the different horrors we are left to experience through the film, be it kills, torture or crash sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that does get dragged down by weaker performances.

 

Overall: Good horror, weak performances.

Rating

 

 

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Derailed (2005)

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Stuart Beattie (Screenplay) James Siegel (Novel)

Starring: Vincent Cassel, Clive Owen, Addison Timlin, Melissa George, Jennifer Aniston, RZA

 

Plot: When two married business executives having an affair are blackmailed by a violent criminal, the two must turn the tables on him to save their families.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Twist Filled Thriller

 

Story: Derailed starts as Charles Schine (Owen) is recounting the events of what happened, this starts the flashback as we see happily married Charles to Deanna (George) and their sick child Amy (Timlim) but he is tired of the routine. When running late Charles forgets his ticket for the train where beautiful banker Lucinda Harris (Aniston) pays for his ticket.

When the two look to engage in an affair they get attacked by LaRoche (Cassel) who knocks Charles out before raping Lucinda. Paying LaRoche off, Charles believes he is out but LaRoche isn’t finished with Charles yet, blackmailing him into giving him money to keep quiet about the affair and things continue to get worse from her for Charles.

 

Thoughts on Derailed

 

Characters/PerformanceCharles is a banker with a perfect little life, married with a child who is sick. He gets engaged in a potential affair only to find himself being blackmailed by the criminal who makes him risk his personal life, his career and even his own freedom. LaRoche is the criminal that blackmails Charles, he even gets personally involved in his life to make this happen. Lucinda is the woman that Charles tries to have an affair. Deanna is the wife Charles has back home, who spends as much of her time looking after their sick daughter.

Performance wise, Clive Owen is good in this leading role as the desperate man pushed to the limits, Vincent Cassel is always a good villain in any movie and this is no different. Jennifer Aniston does a good job in her role which goes in directions you wouldn’t have expect her to go too.

StoryThe story is a good watch as we see how one man must face consequences for action that he finds himself in after nearly getting involved in an affair. This is a good watch and flows nicely even if you don’t agree with everything that Charles is going the story has enough twists to keep you wanting to see more.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side is all blackmail based as the Charles must find a way to keep the blackmailer quiet and this keeps us on the edge of our seats to see where things will be going.

SettingsWe see the quiet home life Charles has to the busy life for the work. We see how the criminals can work in the shadow too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that is enjoyable and a good watch from start to finish.

 

Overall: Good thriller that keeps us on the edge.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – I – Inherent Vice (2014)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay) Thomas Pynchon (Novel)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short

 

Plot: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 2 and Half Hours too Long

 

Story: Inherent Vice starts as private investigator Larry ‘Doc’ Spotello (Phoenix) who gets a visit from his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Waterston) needing his help dealing with the latest job she is on with her boyfriend Michael Z Wolfmann (Roberts). When he goes missing Lt. Det. Christian F ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen (Brolin) leads the case which also sees Shasta go missing too.

As the case continues to unfold Doc finds himself meet a string of different characters who all have different pieces of information that will help solve the case.

 

Thoughts on Inherent Vice

 

Characters/PerformanceDoc is our main character and he is a hippie private investigator that has connections all over town and finds himself in the middle of a big cast.

Performance wise, Phoenix is good but to be fair due to the slightly boring story the actors don’t have much to work with.

StoryThe story here is a crime story as we watch how a PI must solve a missing persons case and what the bigger picture to everything is, it would be fair to say this is very boring and not interesting in anyway.

Comedy/CrimeThere is no comedy in this film, I am pretty confident in saying that, the crime story is fine but not very interesting either.

SettingsThe settings look fine for the time period in question but otherwise nothing comes off truly memorable.

Final ThoughtsThis was a boring story with an all-star cast that don’t get the chance to show their abilities.

 

Overall: Sometimes you just need to miss a film and this is one of them.

Rating