ABC Film Challenge – Horror – I – I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

Director: Billy O’Brien

Writer: Billy O’Brien, Christopher Hyde (Screenplay) Dan Wells (Novel)

Starring: Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser, Christina Baldwin, Karl Geary, Dee Noah

 

Plot: In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Horror Drama

 

Story: I Am Not a Serial Killer starts as we meet high school student and son of a coroner John Cleaver (Records) who does help with mother April’s (Fraser) work, but John is a troubled young man having being diagnosed as a psychopath by his doctor Neblin (Geary).

When his small town starts having a serial killer active and the bodies start adding up. When Max discovers who the killer is Mr Crowley (Lloyd) he starts to learn that not everything is as simple as him being a serial killer and the two end up getting involved in a game of cat and mouse.

 

Thoughts on I Am Not a Serial Killer

 

Characters – John Wayne Cleave is the young man with a troubled mind, he has been diagnosed as a psychopath but he isn’t going to give into his homicidal thoughts but when he learns about a serial killer he sets out to try and stop him. Mr Crowley is the serial killer in question, an old man from the neighbourhood who doesn’t look like he could overpower anyone but there is something different about him. April is John’s mother that also is the town’s coroner which gives John an understand of human anatomy.

PerformanceMax Records gives us a wonderful performance in the leading role for an actor so young and who has been away from the business for about five years. Christopher Lloyd gives us a chilling performance and one you wouldn’t have put him down for after his comedic turns through the years. Laura Fraser is good but doesn’t get too much time to do too much.

StoryThe story of a young man discovering a serial killer and trying to stay ahead of them has been seen before but this film takes things in a new direction as the young man is battling to stop his homicidal ways. The idea is smart and doesn’t go at a fast pace instead keeps us wanting to see where it will all unfold and just what is the killers secret.

Horror/ThrillerWe have a serial killer but not like one you would expect here, we have one that will kill in ways you wouldn’t expect their body to be able to, which does keep us on edge as we wait to see what will happen next.

SettingsThe small-town setting helps this film because it shows that not everyone you think you will know is just who they thought they would be.

Special EffectsThe effects are great, with most being from a distant until the final parts which look fantastic up close and personal.

Scene of the Movie – Discovering the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Can be slow in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart take on a serial killer/creature movie that does keep us guessing along the way and does have a dark and rewarding conclusion.

 

Overall: One for the horror fans

Rating

 

 

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The Vault (2017)

Director: Dan Bush

Writer: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne (Screenplay)

Starring: James Franco, Scott Haze, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood, Q’Oiranka Kilcher, Jeff Gum, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: Two estranged sisters are forced to rob a bank in order to save their brother. But this is no ordinary bank.


Tagline – No one is safe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Disappointing

 

Story: The Vault starts as three siblings Michael (Haze), Vee (Manning) and Leah (Eastwood) put together their team to get what seems like a perfect bank robbery done, to solve Michael’s personal problem. With the hostages locked up and the alarms dealt with things look like they are going smoothly, then they open the vault to discovery next to no money.

Assistant manager Ed Maas (Franco) offer to help get into the old vault, but this is where the terror begins because this bank has a history one, none of the robbers were prepared for.

 

Thoughts on The Vault

 

Characters – Vee is the fiery short tempered of the siblings, she will get the rest of the robbers in more trouble, this is a front to her own insecurity. Leah is the leader of the robbers, the calmer of the group that doesn’t go over the limits, until she does and we lose any support for this character, the one we are meant to be following. Michael is the brother who has gotten himself into trouble and needs the money to fix the problem, he wants to no one hurt mentality and seems to be the only good one of the group. Ed Maas is a man that was one of the hostages that offers to get the money for the robbers.

PerformancesThe cast here is confusing, because James Franco is fine, but completely looks out of place in this movie. When we see the sister performers which does work well together as you feel the strained relationship between them.

StoryThe story is a bank robbery gone wrong, when are they not right? This time it goes wrong when it turns out the location the bank is haunted and now the spirits have returned. This could work for the most part but in the end it doesn’t deliver on the level it could do, mostly because we don’t seem to support anyone because they don’t dive into what Michael has done to need money, the two sisters both come off twisted and evil and the horror side is almost unwatchable.

HorrorThis movie uses the horror to put a twist on the heist idea in the story, the horror side of the film is difficult to watch though as everything comes off just too dark.

SettingsThe film is set inside the bank which keeps the story contained for where the events could go.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine, we only get to see them used sparely which is nice to see when it comes to the horrors.


Scene of the Movie –
Final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many difficult moments that don’t add up.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing horror that doesn’t scare us in anyway and has a complete by the book heist movie.

 

Overall: Lacklustre movie.

Rating

 

 

Covadonga (2017)

Director: Sean Hartofilis

Writer: Sean Hartofilis (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Hartofilis, Lindsey Dumont, George Hartofilis, Matthew Montemaro, Phoenix Catherine

 

Plot: Mourning his wife and their stolen life at a secluded lake house, Martin Ravin watches a tipsy young couple commandeer his canoe. Only the boy returns to shore. As Martin’s dark past starts haunting his present, we’re left to wonder if his crusade is exacting justice or simply transmitting a tragic history.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Engaging Story

 

Story: Covadonga starts as we meet Martin (Sean Hartofilis), living alone in a lake house while grieving the loss of his wife Maggie (Dumont), he keeps himself busy with songs and housework dealing with things his own way.

Martin’s peace is shattered when a drunk young couple arrive to use his canoe, but when only the boy returns, Martin brings out a darker side one he has been hiding away from the world.

 

Thoughts on Covadonga

 

Characters – Martin lives alone in mourning for his late wife, he is going through his own process, which includes singing a lot of songs, keeping the lake house clean and remembering how special his wife was to him. He does have a darker side to his behaviour when he sees a crime committed on his land. The film mostly revolves around him, the only other characters we meet are the local detective, the boy who doesn’t return with the girl and the ghost of his wife.

PerformancesSean Hartofilis is the star on front and behind the camera, writing producing, having his hand in everything, he is the strongest part of the film giving us a performance we can both admire because we sympathise with his characters mindset. The supporting performances are good and help get the best out of Sean.

StoryThe story here shows the struggle one man is having with the loss of his wife, living isolated away from people. Most of the story he just watching him go about his time, which is interesting to see, things do change when he believes he sees a crime by a couple of drunk teenagers and watching him figure out what to do with the boy is interesting as he balances his mindset. As we said there isn’t too much more to the story, it just focuses on the ideas of how people can deal with losing a loved one and that is all it needs to be.

SettingsThe film is set at the lake house, which keeps the film feeling isolated like Martin and shows how the truth can be lost in the darkness of the night.


Scene of the Movie –
The songs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too short.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice treat of a film, it gives us a look at grief with wonderful songs, it shows how the mind can change after loss, one that will grab your attention for the complete runtime.

 

Overall: Delightful treat of a movie.

Rating