Tobe Hooper Weekend – Poltergeist (1982) Movie Review

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor (Screenplay)

Starring: Craig T Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke, Michael McManus

Plot: A family’s home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.

Tagline – Some things have to be believed to be seen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Classic Horror

Story: Poltergeist starts as the Freeling family Steve (Nelson), Diane (Williams), Dana (Dunne), Robbie (Robins) and Carol (O’Rourke) who have moved into a new build, that Steve’s company has built. Robbie is struggling to deal with the strange shapes around the house at night, and Carol has started her sleepwalking again, talking to the static on the television.

The family soon find out they have a poltergeist that Diane sees as something friendly only for the events to become must more sinister, targeting the youngest members of the house, the family must figure out how to save their family, where they only learn more troublesome truths about the house, turning to Dr Lesh (Straight) to study what is going on.

Thoughts on Poltergeist

Characters – Steve is the real estate agent that has been selling the house on the new land, he moved his own family into one to show just how confident he is in the neighbourhood and does what ever concerned father would do once the haunting start. Diane is the wife and mother, she plays with the ghosts first thinking it is a harmless haunting, but when things get serious, she won’t leave the house until she gets her daughter back. Dr Lesh is the one that is hired to study the hauntings, she sets up the tests to figure out what is happening and prepares the family for the test they will be facing. Dana is the oldest daughter in the family, she is dealing with being a teenager with ease and must look after Robbie while the rest of the family deal with the hauntings.

PerformancesCraig T Nelson and JoBeth Williams as the parents are both great through, they show the concern and worries they might not find their daughter. Beatrice Straight does bring the confident figure to life, while also showing the fear she sees in the house. The child stars are strong too through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a family that’s new dream home turns into a nightmare when it turns out it is haunted by vengeful spirits forcing them to confront the spirits before losing their family. This is the original haunted house to a new level story, it spins what was designed before with an old house with history being haunted, to a brand-new house being the events of the hauntings, one that wouldn’t be filled with murder or history. This does help the events of the story seem scarier and gives it an original side too because it shows that anybody could be the ones getting haunted.

HorrorThe horror in the film is hauntings, we start with friendly ones which seem harmless and soon become deadly as the children are being targeted, the final act will bring the most horror to the whole film.

SettingsThe film uses the brand-new house build for the main setting, this helps because it changes everything we should know about haunting houses.

Special EffectsThe effects are great considering this came out in 1982, they don’t look terribly like certain horror films since this.

Scene of the Movie – The last night in the house.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The builder’s mentality to a teenage schoolgirl.

Final Thoughts This is a horror film that has stood the test of time and will be remembered as one of the best of the 80’s.

Overall: Brilliant Horror

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – Z – Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Writer: Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (Screenplay)

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson

Plot: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sitcom in the Making?

Story: Zombieland: Double Tap starts ten-years after the events of the first film, Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg), Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) are now living in the White House feeling safe, while Little Rock is starting to feel left out, with the couple together and Tallahassee with her car.

When Little Rock leaves, the three remaining must go on a road trip to rescue her, meeting Madison (Deutch) and Nevada (Dawson) along the way, where they learn they might be facing a new threat from the zombies.

Thoughts on Zombieland: Double Tap

Characters – Most of the original four are just how you remember them, Tallahassee is busy trying to make his new car the Beast the reason they go out, but slowly turning into the father that doesn’t want his daughter Little Rock to leave, caring more than he will admit, he will lead the rescue pretending it is a reluctant idea. Columbus wants to take his relationship with Wichita to the next level, only this doesn’t go as planned, where he spends time trying to re-assess his new life. Wichita doesn’t react well to the proposal, she must spend the film wondering just what she wants from her life and whether Columbus is for her, while wanting to rescue her sister. Little Rock has grown up now, she wants to be loved like her sister and with lack of options, she wants to go out into the world in search of somebody, often treated like the daughter to the family, with her actions only making them react like disapproving parents. The new members of the cast include Madison, who has spend the 10-years living in a freezer, surviving somehow, she talks too much and is as dumb as they come. Nevada is in Graceland the one place Tallahassee wanted to go, she is the first person that he meets around his age that could offer him something more in life now.

PerformancesWoody Harrelson continues to steal the show in this film, playing the typical over the top version of an America, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone both are strong, but never reaching the levels of the original, while Abigail Breslin does have a lot more to do, she doesn’t get as much screen time as you would think. Zoey Deutch balances the most annoying person in the scene, with the funniest extremely well. Rosario Dawson is great addition to the cast too.

StoryThe story here follows the group ten-years into the zombie apocalypse where they have become safe and must bring one of their own back and come up against a new dangerous form of zombie. The story does step away from the basic surviving ideas of a zombie film which is great because it does show how the human side of life would become different and how human contact would become important to the people. The problem with how the story unfolds, is that it does feel like a sitcom for the most part, never really having a deep enough story for a film, while being cut up into nice chucks for something to happen within.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film does work very well, we have it play out like a commentary to everything that has happened and that will happened, while the wildly over the top reactions and the addition of Madison works to add so much more in the film. The horror does take a step back though, because we open the film with a how zombie introduction, only to end up not using them to any involvement.

SettingsThe film does iconic locations with the White House being the home, Graceland being a place they are travelling too, outside of that we get the usual zombie locations.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the most important part of the film, but when they are used they are not as strong as they should be.

Scene of the Movie – Tallahassee reaction to everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The story does seem like there isn’t anything to it.

Final Thoughts This is a nice enjoyable sequel comedy, it is self-aware enough to laugh at itself, while not hitting the heights of the original.

Overall: Simple Sequel.

The Grudge (2020) Movie Review

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Writer: Nicolas Pesce (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Original Screenplay)

Starring: John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Zoe Fish, Lin Shaye, Tara Westwood, Demian Bichir

Plot: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.

Tagline – It’ll never let you go

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Jump Scare Horror

Story: The Grudge starts as a nurse Fiona Landers (Westwood) returns home from Tokyo after spending time in the haunted house to her family in America, only for something to have happened in that house, two years later recently widowed Detective Muldoon (Riseborough) starts a new role with partner Goodman (Bichir) which starts by investigating a dead body.

Muldoon starts to invest, learning Goodman won’t touch the case, which sees the story split into seeing how four different people interact with the cursed ghost which has been continues it hunt for more souls.

Thoughts on The Grudge

Characters – Detective Muldoon is putting her life back together when she stumbles into a dead body case, which does have a connection to a murder in one house a couple of years ago, once she starts seeing things in her life, she needs to start get to the bottom by mostly reading, leading to the film cutting to what happened, or being haunted. Goodman is the partner Muldoon who has been reluctant to visit the house even when investigating the murders, he can sense bad omens, though he isn’t much help when it comes to Muldoon’s investigation. Peter Spencer is a real-estate agent with his wife, while planning for their first child, he is trying to sell the house, when he gets caught up in the curse, he isn’t more than just a side character that doesn’t seem to go anywhere or interact with any of the other characters in the film. Faith Matheson is along with her husband moved into the house to be closer to her treatment, one of the people that Muldoon finds still in the house.

PerformancesAndrea Riseborough is the closest to a good performance you will get in this film, her character is left with bad decisions, which leaves you scratching your head at what happens in the film. Lin Shaye being a horror icon does get strong moments in the film, while the rest always just look out of place for the most part, because of the weak storytelling style.

StoryThe story here follows the curse from the ghost house coming to America and seeing how it spreads like a virus, curse multiple people through years and how one detective is going to try and get to the bottom of the cases, which all seem to be connected. Where this story does lose a lot of steam is by having four stories going on at once, we see how the curse first gets bought over, the real estate agent who is trying to sell the house, the couple looking for assistant suicide for a sick member of the house and the detective trying to put everything together, each time we learn more about one, we seem to get another branch, which adds more characters, with the whole point of the original curse to be focused on a horrific crime committed in the house, while this is more just, they turned evil and did something horrific, losing all the mystic behind the story. The time jumps don’t give us enough time to digest what we are seeing, with each story waiting for the big moment in the final act to show us what happens to the characters, as most of the stories get revealed when the detective learns more about the case. This just ends up feeling messy for the most part, even if it does the formulaic jump scares.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is a lot of just typical jump scare material, usually sucking the sound out of the scene, before hitting us with a loud noise and image of somebody doing the creepy Grudge sound, sadly no signs of the original creepy figure, which has all the fear about it. The mystery is more about the detective reading about previous cases, never looking to solve like we are used to seeing.

SettingsThe film tries to create the horrors in a new American, house it doesn’t work to the same levels as the original house, not using the environment to create enough of the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are weak too because we are left to see just a heavy make up effects, which might look good, but they don’t have the same effect the original once did.

Scene of the Movie – The opening leaving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many stories going on a t once, which don’t get enough time to be strong enough to stand alone.

Final Thoughts This is a weak addition to the Grudge franchise and as somebody has seen a lot of the side and extended films, it needs the money shot to get a reprieve, which is what the original remakes had.

Overall: Disappointing Horror.