ABC Film Challenge – Horror -L – Landmine Goes Click (2015)

Director: Levan Bakhia

Writer: Adrian Colussi (Screenplay) Levan Bakhia, Adrian Colussi, Lloyd S Wagner (Story)

Starring: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Dean Geyer, Kote Tolordava, Giorgi Tsaava

 

Plot: Trapped standing on an armed landmine, an American tourist is forced to watch helplessly while his girlfriend is terrorized and brutally assaulted.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Horror

 

Story: Landmine goes Click starts as three friends Chris (Knight), Alicia (Locke) and Daniel (Geyer) head off into the Georgian wilderness for a weekend away before Daniel and Alicia’s wedding. When the three are having a photo taken Chris accidently stands on a landmine but this is just revenge plot by Daniel on his friends that have been having an affair behind his back.

Chris and Alicia must get help but this is just the beginning of the nightmare as Ilya (Tolordava) a local that puts Alicia through a sexual assault with Chris have no way of helping.

 

Thoughts on Landmine Goes Click

 

Characters – Chris starts as the third wheel on the trip but it soon turns out he has been involved with Alicia leading to the revenge where he finds himself trapped on a landmine helpless to help Alicia when she gets assaulted. Alicia is the fiancé of Daniel that has been cheating on him with Chris and in the revenge, must go through a brutal assault. Daniel is the friend that gets betrayed and sets up the revenge before abandoning his friends. Ilya is the main assaulter that takes advantage of Alicia but must face the reality of what he did in the future. The characters don’t feel overly original and the love triangle is an easy aspect to use in horror to create a divide.

PerformanceThe performances here are mixed because Locke must go through a lot but doesn’t convince to the levels needed, Sterling Knight does seem to struggle to be convincing in his role in both chapters of the story, at times it does just feel like he is on a film set over a real life situation which is needed for the role. The rest are both fine too through the film without being great.

StoryThe story can be broken into three parts, the first is the trapped on the landmine for revenge which seems to get skimmed over in places, then we have the assault side which does crank up the tension but does seem to go on slightly too long, the third side of the film is the revenge on the attacker which again doesn’t reach the tension levels. This mix tries to show us something new but in the end it does come off flat in places as we can predict where things will go.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is mostly down to the potential of what could happen to the characters with the crime being the ordeals that Alicia and Chris must go through. The film does try to keep us on edge but ends up either going on too long or not long enough.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, the first is where the landmine is which does work if it was the only location but the second location makes the film feel like it has dragged on at times.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just felt long when it didn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting thriller that could have reached new heights but gets the timings of the three main scenes all over the place.

 

Overall: A lot of potential just missed.

Rating

 

 

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Apostle (2018)

Director: Gareth Evans

Writer: Gareth Evans (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Stevens, Kristine Froseth, Lucy Boynton, Michael Sheen, Bill Milner, Mark Lewis Jones, Elen Rhys

 

Plot: A man attempts to rescue his sister who’s been kidnapped by a religious cult.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slower Than it Needs to Be

 

Story: Apostle starts as Thomas (Stevens) must travel to a remote island run by Prophet Malcolm (Sheen) who has created a religious cult community where everyone is equal to locate his sister who has had a bounty placed on her head by the cult for her safe release from the island.

Once Thomas becomes part of the community he must keep his head down with Malcolm trying to figure out who the person from the mainland that is meant to bringing him a ransom, the race is on to save his sister before becoming captured himself.

 

Thoughts on Apostle

 

Characters – Thomas Richardson has experienced the world, long though to be dead, he is pushed by his father to go in search of his sister whom has joined a religious cult. Thomas must use his skills to blend into the cult to learn the truth about his sister, which he can do with ease, his problems come from needing to sneak around a secretive community that don’t keep secrets from each other. Prophet Malcolm is the leader of the cult, he has the people believing the island will keep them safe from any harm from the mainland wars, he does make strict rules and must return to his life of crime to keep the community together. Andrea is the daughter of Malcolm one that does want to keep everyone calm through any problems, she does help Thomas once she learns he knows what the problems are around.

PerformancesDan Stevens in the leading role does give us a great performance, we know he needs to feel withdrawn with his character and keeps us believing this throughout the film. Michael Sheen shines as the leader of the cult because if any actor could be seen as a cult leader, he would be that guy with his smooth delivery of his words. Lucy Boynton is good in her role which is meant to be a woman figure before her time.

StoryThe story follows that must locate his sister who has become mixed up within a cult on a remote island during the early 1900’s. we are left to see just how he must become part of the cult just to learn the truth, where evil could be around nearly every corner because of the mindset of the cult. Where the story comes off most interesting is openly telling us that the cult leader is willing to turn to crime to get money because his religious beliefs are not working. The pace of the film does feel slow because we do spend more time that we need to on one of the side stories over the mystery about why the daughter was taken or her location. Once everything sets off we will be left entertained by just how weird things do get in this film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the way the cult and just what they are planning, we learn as Thomas does too. The mystery in the film circles around why Thomas’ sister is being put through the conditions she is and what the cults true ideas are.

SettingsThe film is set on a remote island, the idea is that we see a community away from the mainland trying to make it themselves not following the laws of the world.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show the us the practical ones being used to product wounds which look as painful as they seem


Scene of the Movie –
Purification is the scene that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Everything feels overly drawn out when it doesn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that starts slow, but once it finds the top gear it doesn’t stop, to let you breath.

 

Overall: One of the better Netflix horrors

Rating

 

 

Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos

Writer: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke

 

Plot: Mandy is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Craziest Film of the Year

 

Story: Mandy starts as we meet Red Miller (Cage) a lumberjack who lives with the love of his life Mandy (Riseborough) living in the woods away from the world. religious cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Roache) sees Mandy and wants to make her the connection to his higher power, taking her and forcing Red through a traumatic night.

With Mandy murdered on front of Red, the cult leaves, but when Red gets free, he sets out on a revenge mission which will show that he is a deadly hunter with weapons that will give the most damage to anyone who was involved in Mandy’s murder.

 

Thoughts on Mandy

 

Characters – Red Miller is a lumberjack who lives a quiet life with the love of his life, this is shattered when she is murdered, causing him to go on a bloody revenge mission, he will not stop until he has killed everyone involved in his loves death. Mandy is the love of Red’s life, she is a dreamer and perfect for how Red sees life. Jeremiah Sand is the leader of the religious cult, he goes to the extremes for his belief searching for the higher power he believes he has made contact with, he followers will give their life for his. The rest of the characters we meet fill up the quota for the religious cult showing their devotion to their leader.

PerformancesNicolas Cage has been known for taking stranger roles in recent years, this is by far the craziest one yet and it is one that he shines in, you just can’t keep you eyes of his characters behaviour in this film. Andrea Riseborough does add the mystery to her character early one, which would make us understand her draw. Linus Roache gives us one of the more disturbing performances as the religious cult leader, one that is as unsettling as it should be.

StoryThe story her can be bottled down to a revenge thriller as we follow one man whose love of his life is murdered and he goes after the religious cult behind the murder. This is the simple side of the story, what we get sends us down roads we never imagine seeing as we focus on just how obsessive the cult truly is and how the one man will use anything and everything he can get his hands on to get his revenge. There are a few questions about how religious cults can be misleading to anyone that falls into one, while this does balance the line between what could be and what is very finely before we see the explosive bloody end.

Action/HorrorThe action in this film takes place once the revenge angle starts, we see Red go into battle with any weapons he can, with fight sequences that are as bloody as the are entertaining. The horror comes from seeing just what the cult will do, what the cult are doing and what the cult believe in.

SettingsThe film takes place in the 80’s in the woods which takes us away from people, making us understand just isolated both sides of the battle want to be.

Special EffectsThe effects are a perfect blend of practical bloody effects and well used CGI moments that don’t take away from the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nicolas Cage’s crazy being used to perfection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the craziest films you will ever see, it does something many directors haven’t been able to do, use Nicolas Cage crazy performance correctly. You will see some of the strangest images that you brain will not be able to take everything in.

 

Overall: Just bonkers fun.

Rating

 

 

Edge of Fear (2018)

Director: Bobby Roth

Writer: Scott Barkan, Gregg Zehentner (Screenplay) Daxing Zhang (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Zhu Zhu, Shen Lin, Robert Knepper, Rockmond Dunbar, Amaury Nolasco, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe

 

Plot: After being stabbed in the heart by ruthless home invaders, a man is left for dead. Now weak, outnumbered, and knife sticking from his chest, he attempts to do the impossible: save his wife from these murderers before he bleeds to death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of Your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Fear starts as we get the introduction to our doctor couple Laura (Zhu) and Patrick Chen (Lin) who show their skills saving Mike Dwyer (Dunbar). We move on to meet our criminals led by Jack Pryor (Patrick) who along with his team break Victor Novak (Knepper) out of a prison convoy.

With Patrick and Laura spending time with Mike in his remote cabin, which just so happens to be the first place Jack and his team find as they look for a new vehicle, when the two collide, Patrick is left with a knife stuck in his chest and must figure out how to save his wife from the criminals.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Fear

 

Characters – Patrick is a brilliant surgeon, he is spending a weekend away with his wife and at a patient whose live he saved cabin in the wood. When the unwelcome visitors arrive he tries to defend his wife only to be left with a knife in his chest, somehow he survive with the knife lodged in his chest and starts to figure out how to fight back to save his wife. Laura is the nurse wife that was involved in saving the patient’s life, her weekend sees her husband stabbed and being forced to help one of the wounded criminals. She is trapped forced to wait with the criminals believing her husband is dead. Jack is running the breakout operation, he knows he will be getting a massive payday for getting Victor out of prison, he doesn’t have complete control of his team though which causes the problems, he doesn’t hold up promises which only annoys Victor. Victor is the man they all want to get out of prison, he is one of the most famous criminals in Mexico, however he does seem to honour promises believing karma will help him along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we see Shen Lin give us a performance which needs to remain wound and not physical strong while facing the criminals. Robert Patrick as the loose cannon criminal, this is his strongest skill and he shows why he is picked for these roles. The choice of Robert Knepper in the role is strange because we are used to him being one of the crazy ones over the kinder villain of the piece. Zhu Zhu is solid enough in her role even though she is just the victim for the most part.

StoryThe story is nice and simple, it is a group of criminals that home invade a group of friends while waiting for a vehicle, they try to kill one man, only for him to not die and plan how to save his wife from the group of criminals. This is a formula that we have seen before, it is one that works, we have seen the biggest names in action handle this role, think Crank only without the bonkers side. The idea that our leading character Patrick is stuck with a knife in his chest only add suspense to the story as we know any movement in that knife would result in his death. the weaknesses in the story comes from the criminals themselves who are generic as they come giving us nothing new along the way.

ThrillerThe does keep us on the edge of our seats because we know that Patrick is seriously injured and any wrong moves will finish him off.

SettingsThe film is set in a remote cabin which is where the friends are for calm weekend and the criminals are looking to stay off the radar. It shows us how there isn’t going to be an easy escape for anyone visiting.


Scene of the Movie –
Tractor time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The group of criminals are not the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable thriller, it doesn’t reinvent the genre and follows the rules to a level that can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable thriller

Rating