ABC Film Challenge – Horror – S – The Skeleton Key (2005)

Director: Iain Softley

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Maxine Barnett

 

Plot: A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house’s dark past.


Tagline – Fearing Is Believing

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Ghost Investigation

 

Story: The Skeleton Key starts as we meet carer Caroline Ellis (Hudson) who has been working in a home, but wants a change. This leads her to a New Orleans plantation to helps the Devereaux family, Violet (Rowlands) and the paralysed Ben (Hurt) with the lawyer Luke Marshall (Sarsgaard) trying to strike a deal.

When Ben doesn’t seem as disabled as Violet appears to let on, Caroline finds herself investigating the house more, where she finds a secret room in the attic, she turns to her best friend Jill (Bryant) to help who teaches her about Hoodoo which is what could be haunting the home.

 

Thoughts on The Skeleton Key

 

Characters – Caroline is a carer, looking to study nursing, she takes this new role which offers her the freedom needed to do the studying. She starts questioning the strange goings on within the house, which leads her to go into full investigation mode. Violet is the lady of the home, she wants to keep everything the way it was inside the house knowing and believing the curse that roams the house. She doesn’t like people coming to the home disturbing the peace she has created with the ghosts. Ben is the disabled husband that has suffered a stroke, he is the reason why Caroline is hired but not everything is right for him as he tries to communicate without being able to use his words. Luke Marshall is the lawyer putting the affairs in orders for the Devereaux’s, he hires Caroline to help care for Ben while using his charm will get him through any situation. Jill is Caroline’s best friend, she fills the filling in the information at times roles and gives us the character that helps question whether she is making the right decisions.

PerformancesKate Hudson is good in this leading role, she is strong minded character which shows in her performance. Gena Rowlands enjoys her role in the film where she gets to play the twisted character. John Hurt gets to show of his acting skills in the supporting role, he doesn’t get any dialogue in the film just gets to show the desperation he is feeling. Peter Sarsgaard is strong too, in a decade where he was always one of the go to guys in a supporting role.

StoryThe story dives into elements of horror I enjoy the most, we have a new member of the household, in this case a carer, that finds out something is right and must figure out what is happening before it is too late. The film offers plenty off potential options to where the film could go, which is what we like even if it does suggest heavily in one direction, you will need to keep thinking as to where the film will end up going.

Horror/MysteryThe horror isn’t in your face jump scares, it is well created tension filled moments that help us get to the final outcome, the mystery does take centre stage for the genres as we watch this get solved by Caroline.

SettingsThe New Orleans settings helps us understand the Hoodoo idea that is surrounded by the characters involved in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects aren’t used very often and to be honest the ones used don’t seem to come off very well.


Scene of the Movie –
The Final night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had an issue with just having one random friend who was only used to fill in the blanks.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good little horror, it is nothing ground breaking, but it has good performances and a solid story that will keep you guessing.

 

Overall: Good horror mystery from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

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Prevenge (2016)

Director: Alice Lowe

Writer: Alice Lowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Kayan Hovak, Tom Davis

 

Plot: Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.


Tagline – Killing for Two

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightfully Twisted

 

Story: Prevenge starts as we meet the seven-month pregnant Ruth (Lowe) a widow, facing the reality of rising her child alone, but things take a strange turn when Ruth starts hearing the voice of her unborn child.

As the communication between Ruth and her baby increase, we start to see a darker side of Ruth, one that takes her on a homicidal rampage against anyone she believes in wronging her life, will this push her too far or not.

 

Thoughts on Prevenge

 

Characters – Ruth is the heavily pregnant woman who has just lost her partner in an accident, dealing with the idea of raising her child alone, she starts believing her child is talking to her and this brings out a darker side that will bring about a dangerous side for anyone who gets in her life. We do meet a string of characters that have wronged Ruth along the way, be it a midwife, a potential employer or people involved in her partner’s accident.

PerformancesAlice Lowe is the star on front and behind the camera, she is fantastic with her sense of humour coming through to bring the Ruth character to life. When you dive into the rest of the cast, each performer is goo with their limited role.

StoryThe story follows the pregnant Ruth who goes on a revenge killing spree after her partner is killed in an accident, being guided by her unborn child. This is a very interested spin on the revenge horror as it shows us just how emotionally scared losing a loved on can leave someone. The story does have a tone with has humour in a dark way through the film and keeps the twisted nature about the concept through the whole film.

Comedy/Fantasy/HorrorThe comedy does come through in a dark humour about everything in this film, the horror is good, but not the most original with the kills, but they are quick which makes sense for a planned action. There is a fantasy element with the film as we see how the baby tries to control Ruth.

SettingsThe settings show us how Ruth can look like she is in everyday life while waiting for the baby to be born, we don’t need a truly stand out location in this film now.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, we have practical ones for most of the violence going on too.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning not everyone is bad.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Learning more about the relationship before the accident could have helped in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong original spin on the revenge horror, it has a wonderfully dark sense of humour which plays into everything unfold and Alice Lowe shine both in and behind the camera.

 

Overall: Great original horror that is twisted as they come.

Rating

 

 

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

Director: Timo Tjahjanto

Writer: Timo Tjahjanto (Screenplay)

Starring: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Joe Taslim, Sunny Pang, Zack Lee, Shareefa Daanish

 

Plot: Ito (Joe Taslim), a gangland enforcer, caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family upon his return home from a stint abroad.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Action Films

 

Story: The Night Comes for Us starts when Ito (Taslim) doesn’t follow through with one of his gangland enforcement jobs, saving a young girl Reina, now the Triads have come for him, with Yohan (Peng) leading the mass number of gang members trying to kill him and clean up anyone that has supporting him.

Ito must continue to do the right thing and it will be his oldest friend Arian (Uwais) that could give him the answers to who he can trust in this world.

 

Thoughts on The Night Comes for Us

 

Characters – Ito is the gangland enforcer for the Triads, he has been away and upon his return he walks into the middle of the war between the leaders, one that will see him witness his crew butchered by the other gangs, where must learn who to trust, just to save an innocent young girl. Arian is one of the gang, the one that has become the highest ranking of the original gang, the one that is left in the middle of making a decision which will help his friends or help his bosses. Chein Wu is the one pushing Arian into his action, he knows he will do the best for his future because he knows if he doesn’t, he will just get killed. The Operator has her own reasons for fighting, they revolve around saving the girl from the enemies coming her way, she is just as deadly as any fighter in this film.

PerformancesJoe Taslim takes the leading role here and he fits in perfectly to this raw, hard hitting criminal world, you believe every punch and kick, he does also show the emotional range to deal with the down time between the action. Iko Uwais is fast becoming the biggest Asian action star of modern cinema, we get to see him do incredible fighting scenes here which is all we want, even if he does turn out to be the villain in this story. Now everyone involved in the fight sequences must be praised, we have unique moments, weapons that are different in each scene and flawless execution when it comes to using the ones at hand.

StoryThe story follows a former Triad leader that gets caught up in the middle of a war between the rising powers as he tries to get out before it is too late. It would be fair to say this film does focus on the action over the story telling process, which is fine, there isn’t too much to tell on the storyline side of the events. We get glimpses into the idea of who to trust or not and who will be loyal to you when the odds are stacked against you. It does show us just how deadly and determined to follow their own beliefs the Triads are and how they will not change their rules.

ActionThe action is why we are all here, the action sequences are amazing with the pure brutality being shown through each fight which only gets bloodier than the previous one.

SettingsThe film takes us around the normal Triad locations which will show us how the people will use the location to their advantage in the fight scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are amazing when it comes to the wounds given to any of the films fight scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The old club house fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Reina’s need to do a violent act never feels as brutal as the rest of the violence in the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most essential films of the modern action genre to watch, it simply won’t let you have time to take a breath once the action kicks off.

 

Overall: Must watch action film.

Rating