Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw IV (2007)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan (Screenplay) Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Thomas Fenton (Story)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Lyriq bent, Athene Karkanis, Louis Ferreira

 

Plot: Despite Jigsaw’s death, and in order to save the lives of two of his colleagues, Lieutenant Rigg is forced to take part in a new game, which promises to test him to the limit.


Tagline – It’s a Trap

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Improving Once Again

 

Story: Saw IV starts as watch John Kramer’s (Bell) autopsy, but it uncovers a new recording for Lt Mark Hoffman (Mandylor) promising to pass on his work. Hoffman is getting help from FBI agents Peter Strahm (Patterson) and Lindsey Perez (Karkanis) who have been working on the Jigsaw case believing the bigger picture is going on with more than just John and Amanda.

Lt Daniel Rigg (Bent) becoming stressed and distant from his wife with the case learns that Eric (Wahlberg) is still alive and placed into a trap with Hoffman. Rigg gets placed into his own game where he has 90 minutes to save Matthews and Hoffman but with the FBI investigating Rigg becomes the prime suspect in the Jigsaw puzzle along with John’s ex-wife Jill (Russell) who reveals the motivation for John to become Jigsaw.

 

Thoughts on Saw IV

 

Characters – In the present time John is dead, but in this chapter we learn what motivated him to start his games or tests if you like, this does bring us to want to sympathise with John. Hoffman is the new lead detective on the case, where he must deal with the FBI turning up but worse for him, he gets caught up in the latest test with Matthews. Agent Strahm is from the FBI, he is searching for Jigsaw team as he believes it can’t have been the two-person operation, he believes someone in the force is involved and that John’s ex-wife is involved. Jill Tuck is John’s ex-wife, she is one of the prime suspects due to her connection to him, now she must give us the story to what motivated John. Rigg is the detective that has seen his friends on the force taken by Jigsaw, it is costing him his marriage so now he must go through the game learning that he can’t save everyone.

PerformancesThe performance across the board are good with Bell taking a smaller role but showing us, the sympathy needed. Patterson brings us a character we needed, one that knows the game is bigger and will do everything to stop it. The rest bring us the importance to certain moments in the film without being the full stars of the show.

StoryThe story continues to build the world that Jigsaw was from, we show that we will be facing more apprentices because Amanda and John couldn’t pull off the traps alone, this keeps us guessing on who it could be as well as teases potential returns of previous characters. The main game about a cop that needs to learn he can’t save everyone does feel like we are learning how John could recruit someone while the FBI investigation is the most interesting side of the film.

Horror/Mystery The horror comes from the games being played, they are becoming more graphic as we go along. The mystery is a lot more interesting here as we are left wondering who could in fact be the newest member of the team Jigsaw.

SettingsThe settings show us how the game can be performed in the small scale location in warehouse which would have no witness to what is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are great here, when it comes to the games you can’t fault the effects team, we also see great moments of cutting between scenes that look flawless.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act and reveal twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain games do feel like gore for gores sake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a step back in the right direction, the bigger picture is a huge plus for the series as this film opened the doors to so many new directions for the film to go in. the only problem is there are sometimes one too many sub-stories to follow.

 

Overall: Good addition to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)

Director: Mary Lambert

Writer: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Mara, Robert Vito, Tina Lifford, Ed Marinaro, Michael Coe, Lillith Fields

 

Plot: On a prom-night dare, a trio of high school friends chant an incantation, unleashing an evil spirit from the past with deadly consequences.


Tagline – Mary’s Evil is Beyond Legend

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Than I Remembered

 

Story: Urban Legends: Bloody Mary starts as we follow three high school students including Samantha Owens (Mara) who are playing with the ideas of urban legends and the Bloody Mary myth, which sees them disappear for a couple of days.

When they return Samantha’s brother David (Vito) believes it had something to do with the football team that she exposed, but soon the Mary ghost starts putting the students through their own nightmares.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

 

Characters – Samantha Owens is on of the high school reporters, her latest story exposes the football team which leads to her being exiled from the school dance, victim of a prank she is put through the same ordeal that three student years before went through, which unleashes a vengeful spirit. She must figure out what is going on before too many people start dying. David is the brother of Samantha, he always watches over his sister and will stand by her to stop anything happening to her. Grace Taylor was one of the survivors that was involved in the first kidnapping that took place, she doesn’t remember who was involved and has spent her life avoiding the truth. Bill is the step father of Sam and David, thy have never been fond of him and we learn early on that he was around during the first incident.

PerformancesKata Mara is the lead in this film, this is one of her first leading roles and you can see she does have the little bit extra about her that will make her standout in the future. The rest of the cast is solid enough, certain smaller supporting roles do have weak performances, but once they are killed off it isn’t a problem.

StoryThe story here follows high school students that unleashes an urban Legend on the world only for them to get picked off, they need to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the murdered teenager to bring about the end of the curse. This does use connection to the first two films, mostly by pointing out who the killer in the second one was, showing that people will use Urban Legends to kill. By using the students names we learn who the killer is too early which is a shame because it could have been a good twist, when it comes to the kills the idea they are based on Urban Legends once again ends up mixed because some are just crimes which take advantage of the situation over being a legend. This will also fail by the fact that it decided to go supernatural on us for no reason what so ever.

Horror/MysteryThe kills continue to use the Urban Legends which is fine, we have learnt about these in previous films, but the supernatural side of everything only lets things down, the mystery behind the film is easier to solve once we look at the people in the opening sequence.

SettingsHaving a high school setting does make this feel too big, it also leaves us to wide spread for the kills mostly taking place in homes.

Special EffectsThe effects the biggest weakness of the film, anything practical works fine, but those CGI moments mostly the spider scene look terrible.


Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Those spiders.

Final ThoughtsFor the third in a franchise this is fine, it works and will make for a good late night movie we can enjoy as horror fans.

 

Overall: Late night viewing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Director: John Ottman

Writer: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson (Screenplay) Silvio Horta (Characters)

Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine, Joey Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes

 

Plot: A film school is the center of a fresh spate of killings based on urban legends.


Tagline – It was an urban legend that started it all. Now it continues on the Alpine University campus… 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Late Night Movie

 

Story: Urban Legends: Final Cut starts as we head to a new university where the students are film students making a horror movie, Amy Mayfield (Morrison) comes from a line of famous film makers adding the pressure to excel, meeting Reese (Devine) the returning security guard that wouldn’t accept the silence after the events of the first movie, she give Amy the idea for her project, a serial killer using Urban Legends.

With Amy’s movie started it doesn’t take long before the cast start getting picked off, Amy must work with twin brother of highly regarded student Trevor Stark (Davis) and feisty security guard Reese to solve the murders and get her film done on time.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legends: Final Cut

 

Characters – Amy is the young filmmaker studying at university looking to find an idea for her project, she gets that idea from Reese, a horror film where the killer uses Urban Legends to kill the victims, she must deal with jealous students who feel she is stepping on their genre, young artists who want to make a name for themselves and soon a serial killer that wants to use the Urban Legends for their own killing spree. Sadly, she is the only character we truly get to know much about, we have the Stark twins, with the student one killing himself which draws his brother to learn why, the returning Reese who is the connection between the two movies, still the most entertaining character and many other students and professor who either work on or help plan the film Amy is making. This biggest problem with most of the supporting characters is that they don’t seem to understand horror movies, even though they are making one.

PerformancesJennifer Morrison takes her first leading role here, she is good for horror, as this role is the only one that seems to understand horror films. Matthew Davis in twin roles is solid enough as they are both in different mood settings through the film. Lorette Devine is the best character to watch once again. We have an early role from Eva Mendes here to which is a highlight.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the first film which have been swept under the carpet, now a film student learns of the idea and decides to make a movie based on an Urban Legend killer. This is understandable and should work because we like the idea of meta in movies, the problems arise when this film students that are making a horror movie don’t seem to understand the rules of horror movies, add in the fact that we only have certain kills in the film being based on urban legends while others are crimes of opportunity. When it comes to the slasher side of the film we don’t get as many suspects this time which does disappoints, but everything works well enough for the film if you want a late-night movie.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film does follow most of the same trends, we have the urban legends being the designs for most of the deaths, though the mystery in this film falls short because we don’t believe that any of the suspects could be guilty.

SettingsWe keep the university setting, with a lot of the sequences taking place in the created sets and giving us behind the look locations for horror movie production.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed because we do get to see a lot of cheats behind how effects can be made with a couple of characters, when it comes to the real kills things are good without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Reese is excellent to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the characters don’t understand how horror movies work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it gives us plenty to enjoy when it comes to late night horror which can always be enjoyed by the right audience.

 

Overall: Solid sequel.

Rating