The Dark End of the Street (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kevin Tran

Writer: Kevin Tran (Screenplay)

Starring: Scott Friend, Brooke Bloom, Lindsay Burdge, Michael Cyril Creighton, Jennifer Kim, Daniel K Isaac

Plot: Residents of a suburban community enjoy a night at home with their friends and family, while an ominous threat looms just outside their doors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Burn

Story: The Dark End of the Street starts as we meet a host of residents in a suburban community expecting parents Jim (Friend) and Patty (Burdge), Korean family, Sue (Kim), Keith (Isaac) and daughter Natalie, Cat lady Marney (Bloom) whose beloved cat Bruce is the latest victim of a string a pet murders in the community. We have other locals Isaac (Creighton), Richard (Parrack) along with teenage band members.

As night arrives strange connections are made between the residents, as the pet killer looks to strike again.

Thoughts on The Dark End of the Street

Final Thoughts The Dark End of the Street brings us an everyday incident filled time in one street, we get to see how everyone is going about there own day, there own reaction to the pet killer around, find security in a neighbour, alcohol, or just friends. Everything does seem very grounded, with nobody looking to solve the problem, only them looking to prepare themselves from the potential problem. This does make everything feel slower, because this is more about the human nature, rather than any sort of thriller on tracking somebody down, or even investigating what happened. The best way to describe this one, is to make sure you are prepared for a film about human nature, rather than wanting to see an intense story unfold. We do get to see how you will never know what people are going through behind their own doors.

Overall: Very Slow Burner.

Mara (2018) Movie Review

Director: Clive Tonge

Writer: Clive Tonge, Jonathan Frank (Screenplay)

Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Craig Conway, Javier Botet, Rosie Fellner, Lance E Nichols, Mackenzie Imsand

Plot: Sophie wakes up, hears scary noises from her parents’ bedroom and sees her dad dead. A psychologist arrives there to determine what happened.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Has Great Scares

Story: Mara starts when a young girl Sophie (Imsand) witnesses her father murdered, with her mother Helena (Fellner) trying to protect her from something, Doctor Kate (Kurylenko) is given the case to investigate, which soon takes a strange turn when both Helena and Sophie claim it to be a mysterious figure called Mara (Botet).

Kate’s investigation leads her down the path of sleep paralysis, which the husband suffered from, now Kate is suffering from it herself, where she is seeing the strange figure herself, she decides to investigate more, which only sees her needing to question her own reality.

Thoughts on Mara

Characters – Kate is a psychologist that is working with the police on a domestic death case where she must decide what is best for a little girl, she does make the difficult decision, only to find herself being one of the latest victims of the sleep demon Mara. Kate seems to throw out her professional mindset despite seeking professional answers, which could explain all of it away in a logical way, this character is frustrating mostly because of her profession, rather than her action, which would make sense in the similar situation for a non-professional position. Dougie is a man that has been suffering from the effects of the Mara, he does fill in the blanks about who Mara is and how to avoid being taken by the figure. Mara is the figure that comes during sleep paralysis, the figure has been haunting people for years and now has come back for more. We do meet a waste of space detective, a doctor who works with people with sleeping problems and other victims too.

PerformancesOlga Kurylenko is great in the film, being able to play the sleep paralysis is always going to be difficult and seeing how she reacts, feels genuine through the film. Craig Conway is just like you want for a character that is going to lose their mind. Javier Botet is the star of the show, with his ability to transform his body to make it look like a creature of horror.

StoryThe story follows a psychologist that must investigate the latest case, which sees her needing to learn and battle sleep paralysis that is bringing a demon to take lives. This story does show how terrifying sleep paralysis can be on the victim suffering the event, which is shown with all the terror it could bring, where the story might fall slightly short is by having a character that is all about science falling so easily into the supernatural, not showing any professional behaviour when it comes to seeing just what is happening to the young girl involved in the case. If she was just a random nonscientific position it would be added something to the story because we could have balanced the real or supernatural side to the story. When you look past this, we do get an investigation to what is happening, which could have been dived into more, while we could see more form the history or the character.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film does see bodies piling up, with an investigation getting involved in how this could be happening or who could be behind it. The horror adds into the film by seeing just how the Mara figure can come and haunt during sleep paralysis which can be a terrifying.

SettingsThe film is set in the one city location, it does use your own home as the place where the horror happens, being it coming from the sleep you are experience.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to elevate the terror behind the Mara figure, while certain movements are done by the actor.

Scene of the Movie – The Sleep Paralysis scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Kate is meant to be a professional, but acts like she knows nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a strong horror, with great horror moments, it is just the main character doesn’t seem to fit the role that the film is trying to make us believe.

Overall: Scares a plenty.

Signature Entertainment presents Mara on Amazon Prime August 14th

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – G – The Grinch (2018) Movie Review

Director: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier

Writer: Michael LeSieur, Tommy Swerdlow (Screenplay) Dr Suess (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Tristan O’Hare, Kenan Thompson, Sam Lavagnino

Plot: A grumpy Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: True Christmas Message

Story: The Grinch starts as we head to Whoville as they are preparing for Christmas the happiest time of the year for the town, only The Grinch sits above the town hating the holiday and everything about it with his dog Max.

AS Whoville is trying to have the biggest Christmas of all time, he plans to destroy Christmas once and for all, while a county Who Cindy-Lou is looking to ask for the simplest gift, help for her mother Donna that has been raising the children alone.

Thoughts on The Grinch

Characters – The Grinch is the grumpy who that lives above the town with Max the dog, he hates Christmas the most, he decides that this year is the year that he steals Christmas from the rest of the town, because of his own hate, this is a more cunning plan than the live action film gave us. Cindy-Lou is the one of the youngest members of the town, she wants to wish for help for her mother who is raising her siblings alone while working. She has a plan to try and capture Santa to make this wish in person. Donna is the single parent that has been raising her children alone, while working nights, she does well keeping things together without letting it show too much to her kids. We do have the other young whos that are helping Cindy, and we get Max who gets plenty of laughs with Grinch.

StoryThe story here follows the Grinch who decides he wants to steal Christmas from the town who are always rubbing it in his face, while a plucky young girl wants to ask for something more than just a present. This is the second film version of the book I have seen, it is clearly a lot better than the Ron Howard version, holding together the clever dialogue Dr Seuss was famous for, it does ditch the personal back story of the Grinch which does help show him to be a wacky villain always planning, while giving the story a big heart with how the little girl wants what is best for her mother, this is a joy to watch because it is true to what Christmas is really about.

Fantasy/FamilyThe family message in this film is clear, this is the highlight of the film which is a joy to see, being together is important, whether it true family or people you can call family, while the fantasy side of the film is the world we are thrown into, which does work for the film.

SettingsThe small town is always going to work for the film, it shows the unity within one town over the isolation of the Grinch that he is feeling.

AnimationThe animation looks wonderful through the film which helps make the film more enjoyable, being able to give us the wacky moments and slapstick working in a way only animation can pull off.

Scene of the Movie – The present.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not knowing the book, so not sure if it is closer or not.

Final Thoughts This is a joyful Christmas film that could be enjoyed by all, it hits the right marks through the film with ease and gets laughs whenever you need it.

Overall: Christmas Joy.

Diablo: The Ultimate Race (2019) Movie Review

Director: Daniel Markowicz, Michael Otlowski

Writer: Daniel Markowicz, Michael Otlowski, Michal Kasprzyk (Screenplay)

Starring: Tomasz Wlosok, Karoline Szymczak, Cezary Pazura, Mikolaj Roznerski, Rafal Mohr

Plot: The protagonist of the film is a young boy named Kuba who, due to his seriously ill sister, decides to get a quick cash by taking part in illegal car races. On his way he meets not only many difficulties but a girl Ewa, with whom he will be joined not only by love for racing.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fast & Furious Competition

Story: Diablo starts as Kuba (Wlosok) has turned to street racing to raise money for his sick sister, he finds himself impressing the competition and given a connection to Max (Mohr) a man that can connect Kuba to more rewarding races, only this sees him going against Jarosz (Pazura) drivers, and with him being the king of the racing, he isn’t happy Kuba is beating his drivers.

As Kuba continues to impress, he catches the eye of Ewa (Szymczak) the daughter of Jarosz, as the two try to have a relationship, it only drives his hatred towards him up, showing he will have to risk even more to save his sister.

Thoughts on Diablo

Characters – Kuba is a brother that is looking to help his sick sister, he turns to street racing, where he does excel, only he doesn’t have the vehicle to compete, given a chance by one of the most dangerous men in the game, he proves to be the best, turning heads including the ones that would want him dead. He must play this game smart to make it out alive to save his sister. Ewa is the daughter of the king of the underground scene, she is protected by him, not allowed to see the racers, something she isn’t willing to follow, falling for Kuba. Jarosz is the ruler of the illegal racing that doesn’t want to let anybody get involved with his daughter and most important he doesn’t like losing.

PerformancesTomasz Wlosok, Karolina Szymczak and Cezary Pazura are all strong in the film, bringing to life the characters through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that turns to illegal street racing to help fund his sister’s treatment, where he finds all new threats from the dangers of the people in the world. This does puts one man against the odds to do the right thing for with the deeper he gets the more danger, with the money he needs. We get the forbidden love angle, with is one we always like to see, with much of this story borrowing with the ideas of Fast and Furious franchise, while managing to put its own spin on it.

ActionThe action does have plenty of high-octane car chases, which are fun to watch through the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the underworld would operate, with the darker street race settings, next to the flashy rich people’s mansions.

Scene of the Movie – The first race against Jarosz team.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Underground fighting, only shows the business, not the racing side of things.

Final Thoughts This is a fun action movie that has plenty of races to keep us on the edge of the seat with a story that could easily be an early chapter in the Fast and the Furious team.

Overall: Fun, Fast and Furious.

Signature Entertainment presents Diablo: The Ultimate Race on Digital HD August 10th & on DVD August 24th