Knuckleball (2018) Movie Review

Director: Michael Peterson

Writer: Kevin Cockle, Michael Peterson (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ironside, Munro Chambers, Luca Villacis, Kathleen Munroe, Chenier Hundal

Plot: Alone, and targeted on an isolated farm, 12 year-old Henry finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of terror, and a dark family legacy, when his secretive grandfather dies suddenly in the night.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Slasher

Story: Knuckleball starts when 12-year-old Henry (Villacis) gets left with his estranged grandfather Jacob (Ironside) on his remote ranch, while his parent head off to a family funeral, he meets the overly nosey neighbour Dixon (Chambers) and sees just how bad the climate outside is.

When Jacob dies in his sleep, Henry tries to contact his parents before turning to Dixon who might not be as friendly as Henry believes, showing his darker secret side.

Thoughts on Knuckleball

Characters – Henry is the 12-year-old left to spend time with his grandfather, he is the typical young boy who spends too much time playing video games, so this trip would give him a more hands on approach to work, he is left alone after his grandfather dies and proves to be a worthy opponent for the serial killer neighbour. Jacob is the grandfather who has a mysterious past, he does teach Henry little things and does expect him to work on the ranch, he has a past that has been kept secret from the rest of the family including his own daughter. Dixon is the neighbour who seems too interested when Henry is visiting, once Henry comes to him for help, he shows his true colours as a killer who has been waiting for this chance to let know about his own family secret. Mary and Paul are the parents that are left helpless as they try to find a way back to save their son.

PerformancesLuca Villacis as the boy is great showing himself to be able to show his character planning what his next move will be, Michael Ironside might not have the biggest role, but he brings his mentor figure to life, while Munro Chambers in the villainous role is dark enough to be a threat, even if he talks too much.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old who must fight off a serial killer that is one of his family’s dark little secrets after being left for the weekend with his estranged grandfather. The story does flow well very well showing us just how the secrets slowly get revealed, while going through the slasher idea of following the kid trying to stay ahead of the killer. It does play into the idea of seeing one trying to get ahead of the other, with both getting their own upper hand at times, with each having a plan, while the parents just end up feeling like they are from Home Alone.

ThrillerThis uses the thriller aspect that are used in a slasher style movie, it only shows the two going at it without needing to give us the pile of bodies.

SettingsThe film uses the one location which is two ranches next door to each other in the snow-covered area which made the conditions harder to survive in.

Scene of the Movie – The basement trap.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The parents don’t seem to care that much.

Final Thoughts This is a slasher styled thriller that shows the battle between a young man and a 12-year-old where the boy must do anything to survive from the killer.

Overall: Cat-n-mouse 101.

The Tokoloshe (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jerome Pikwane

Writer: Richard Kunzmann, Jerome Pikwane (Screenplay)

Starring: Petronella Tshuma, Kwande Nkosi, Dawid Minnaar, Harreit Manamela, Mandla Shongwe

Plot: Busi, a young destitute woman with dangerously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a rundown hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. Desperate for the money so she can bring her younger sister to Johannesburg, she must cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager. When Busi discovers an abandoned young girl in the hospital, who believes she is tormented by a supernatural force, Busi must face her own demons from her past in order to save the child from the abusive monster that pursues them both relentlessly.

Tagline – Where she goes it follows.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fairy Tale Horror

Story: The Tokoloshe starts as Busi (Tshuma) moves to Johannesburg to start a new life, where she gets a job in a hospital as a cleaner, where she is warned about the manager Ruatomin (Minnaar) predatory ways. Busi learns of the darkness within parts of the hospital, along with the children’s wing that includes children that have also been forgotten.

Busi starts to feel uneasy in her new surroundings where she is filled with the guilt of leaving her sister behind, despite her job being to bring her to the big city too, soon she learns her guilt and despair could have bought forward an evil spirit following her, one that preys on the weak.

Thoughts on The Tokoloshe

Characters – Busi is a young lady that has left her sister behind in hope of starting a better life for the pair of them, she gets a job in the big city and learns that she is going to need to face demons in both human and supernatural form. Busi is filled with guilt for leaving her sister behind and will do everything she can to support her, but she needs to fight her own demons first. Ruatomin is the manager of the hospital, he likes to take advantage of the women and uses his position of power to get away with it. Gracie is the young girl Busi finds around the hospital, she believes he is being haunted by the Tokoloshe and when she is left alone, the creature strikes causing her great pain, it will continue to follow her too.

PerformancesPetronella Tshuma in the leading role brings us a performance that shows the pain her life has been through, while willing to show just how much she wants the change. Kwande Nkosi as the young girl that shows the horrors she has been through, while Dawid Minnaar brings us the horrible manager making you hate his every scene.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that heads to the big city to start a new life for her and her sister only to find herself needing to help a young girl that is being haunted by a mysterious creature in the shadows. The story does dive into a folklore of South Africa which tales of a creature that comes for child who are suffering. This story does address real life issues that Busi could be suffering from both in the workplace and at home with the problems her sister is facing. When it comes to the haunting side of the story we get to dive into the terror that could be experience by the people who are targets of the Tokoloshe.

HorrorThe horror does have a lot going on in the background, with the game of catch and with the being dragged along the floor poltergeist like haunting.

SettingsThe film does show the Johannesburg city being a place where somebody would go to make money, despite being one of the places where it isn’t as safe as she would want it to be, the hospital have plenty of haunting feelings and once we leave the city we get the area which includes extra horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved more for the final reveal, this is strong enough for low budget which does work for the film.

Scene of the Movie – The game of catch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The hospital has strange wings.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does bring a folklore to life and the gloom involved in the film to show the horror we would be experiencing.

Overall: Gloomy Horror.