Writer: Jaclyn Betham, Lane Toran (Screenplay)
Starring: Jaclyn Betham, Scout Taylor-Compton, Landry Allbright, Lane Toran, Noah Lowdermilk, Jamil Walker Smith
Plot: Tamara Miller has planned a weekend lake getaway with her lifelong two best friends. When she gets kidnapped by a backwoods cult, eerie and unexplained occurrences arise. Will she make it out alive or become the treasure of these deranged lunatics?
Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Nice Twist of Abduction Horror
Story: Getaway starts as Tamara (Betham) is joining her two best friends Maddy (Taylor-Compton) and Brooke (Allbright) for a girls weekend at a lake house, as they look to party, Tamara finds herself abducted by Merv (Toran), Kib (Lowdermilk) and Pa (Caudell) who look to do the lord’s work, only things start to spiral out of control when Tamara claims to be a witch, summoning the previous victims to get their revenge on the men.
Thoughts on Getaway
Characters – Tamara is the friend that arrives last to the lake house, she is in the middle of a maybe relationship with a police officer, but for now is looking for a weekend with friends, drinks and party. The first night she gets taken by some men, with her survival plan to pretend to be a witch, and use the men’s beliefs to get the upper hand on them. Maddy and Brooke are the two best friends that are here to enjoy a party as they go in search for their friend. Merv, Kib and Pa are the men that take Tamara, they believe they are doing the Lord’s work and have been doing for a long time.
Performances – Jaclyn Betham in the leading role is the strongest part of the film, she keeps her character strong despite the situation she is in. When it comes to Scout Taylor-Compton and Landry Allbright, they are solid in the supporting roles without needing to do as much as Jaclyn. The rest of the cast fill the roles you are expecting from their characters with ease.
Story – The story here follows three friends that go on a girls trip, only to find one abducted by locals that have been taken women for years for the lord’s work. This is a story that does seem to be going down a generic direction, only for it to take a big turn and feeling a lot fresher that it seemed like it would. Both the villainous figures and Tamara are created to be a lot deeper than a lot of horrors, with motivations for what is happening. This is a smart story for horror, one that should be enjoyed by all.
Horror – The horror in this film comes from what the men want to do to Tamara, only to spin the hauntings onto all the characters.
Settings – The film takes us to the off the track location, to show how the lunatics are operating where they can’t be caught.
Special Effects – The effects are the used to show injuries with hauntings happening too.
Scene of the Movie – 16 seconds.
Final Thoughts – This is a smart horror that does a spin what we might have been expected well to give us something fresh to enjoy.
Overall: Fresh Spin Horror.
“Remember, there are no bad crews, only bad leaders.” – Master Chief John Urgayle
Number of Times Seen – Twice (11 Dec 2012 and 5 Apr 2020)
Brief Synopsis – A female naval officer is chosen to be the first female in a combat unit where things are tougher than everyone expected.
My Take on it – This is a film that is in some ways more relevant today than it was when it was made 23 years ago.
The themes brought up in this film are quite intriguing and ahead of their time.
Demi Moore does a wonderful job in the lead and is able to easily stand her own against the macho and buff soldiers all around her.
The story goes in some very dark directions and there are some scenes that are a bit too reminiscent of Opposing Force (1986) which takes away some of the originality of this film.
Viggo Mortensen has always been a great actor, but in this film, he doesn’t mess very well with the character that he portrays and his performance doesn’t feel genuine enough.
I really like the way that this film is able to give us some great ammunition for both sides of the debate both for and against gender integration in the military.
This adds so much to the issue that has been debated back and forth for decades and allows us to understand both sides of the issue even better.
The overall plot is quite good, but the journey that these characters have to take along the way is a bit weaker than I would have hoped for.
Bottom Line – Interesting theme that brings up some really intriguing idea that are quite ahead of their time. Moore does a nice job in the lead role and easily stands up her own against all of the macho soldiers around her throughout the film. There are parts of this story that are a bit too reminiscent of Opposing Force (1986) and that takes away part of the original feel of things. Mortensen is a great actor, but he doesn’t fit well enough into the character he plays and things don’t feel genuine enough. The story is able to put on the table the obvious issues both for and against gender integration in the military and is able to add so much to both sides of the debate that still rages on more than 23 years after this film was made. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – While Demi Moore and the rest of the main cast endured a mini-boot camp in Florida, Viggo Mortensen prepared for the role on his own for several months. He observed the actual training in Naval Base Coronado and talked to many active and retired Navy S.E.A.L.s. Some of the other cast members, with the exception of Moore, were angry that Mortensen didn’t go through what the others had to go through. That’s what Mortensen wanted. (From IMDB)
Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)
Writer: Adam Lawson (Screenplay)
Starring: Bai Ling, Warren Kole, Dustin Nguyen, Jaime Ray Newman, Jude Ciccolella, Murielle Telio, Nick Lane
Plot: In a sunken castle underneath the earth, five strangers wake. They have no food. No memory. No water. And no way out. They must organize and band together for the sinister adventure that awaits.
Tagline – In Hell… Only your sins can save you…
Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Poor Man’s Saw
Story: The Gauntlet starts when five strangers, Kim Lee (Ling), David (Kole), Jin-Soo (Nguyen), Emma (Newman) and Tyler (Lane) waking up in the mysterious dungeon like series of traps, here the five must start to work together to figure out how to get out of thee location, with their memories only coming back slowly to who they were in their lives.
As the memories start to come back to the strangers, they start to understand why they have been elected, only for the battle to survive to start to take over, as they simply don’t know if they can trust each other.
Thoughts on The Gauntlet
Characters – David is the first to wake up, defending himself from Jin-Soo before learning about his own purpose for being selected, he does take the lead of the five when it comes to searching for a way out, only to know the motivation behind being trapped in this game. Jin-Soo is another one of the strangers, he is one of the first to remember what he once did to make his position here make sense, only for him to be wounded for most of the journey. Kim Lee is the last to be found with her becoming the least accepted within the group as she appears after the first task. Emma is the one that questions everything that is happening more often than not. The big problem with the characters comes from the fact they are meant to be strangers and for some reason they start acting like they are best friends.
Performances – The performances from the whole cast aren’t at a strong level, this is mostly down to the poorly written characters and weak story, this just doesn’t give any of the actors to get a moment to make them standout from the rest of the crowd here.
Story – The story follows five strangers that find themselves trapped in a dungeon like environment without any memories to why they are and the race on to figure out the series of traps to get out alive. This is a story that we have seen before in the ‘Cube Franchise’ and ‘Saw 2’ where the people need to learn to work together to survive, the tension does mount between the sides which follows the rule book too. The problem with the story is how quickly the characters suddenly seem to become friends even if they are trapped in a situation where they are live or die. We do try to bring some type of mythology behind the outcome too, which only falls short.
Action/Horror – The action is mostly saved for later in the film, which is a poorly shot fight sequence, with the horror being within the traps that never feel as deadly as they could.
Settings – The highlight of the film is the setting because it feels like we are set in a secret level of the Crystal Maze game.
Special Effects – The effects are used well enough without being turned to for the sake of it.
Final Thoughts – This is another attempt to cash in on the success of the Saw movies, it lacks the tension required to make it standout and ends up feeling like a missing episode of The Crystal Maze.
Overall: Crystal Maze Unseen Footage.