Max Winslow And The House Of Secrets (cert 12A) will be in UK Cinemas from Friday 23rd October, with previews in Scotland and Northern England. Full Listings here
Director: Sean Olson
Writer: Jeff Wild (Screenplay)
Starring: Tanner Buchanan, Chad Michael Murray, Marina Sirtis, Jade Chynoweth, Jason Genao, Tyler Christopher , Sydne Mikelle
Plot: Five teens compete to win a mansion owned by an eccentric billionaire. The night takes a dark turn when they become trapped and are forced to face off against a super computer who has gone rogue.
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Max Winslow and the House of Secrets starts when eccentric billionaire Atticus Virtue (Murray) has disappeared from public spotlight, only to reappear offering five high school students, Max Winslow (Mikelle), Connor (Buchanan), Sophia (Chynoweth), Benny (Genao) and Aiden (Kelly) a chance to win the key to his mansion.
As the five students find themselves locked in the house, they must complete a series of tasks to get out of the house, which will see them get to know each other better, learning about the weaknesses they hide from the world.
Thoughts on Max Winslow and the House of Secrets
Characters – Max Winslow is the tech genius, she spends more time working of programs than making friends, seeing her social skills being difficult to maintain, only her skills could be what helps the students complete the tasks. Sophia is an Instagram addict that only cares about popularity, she is completely self-centred. Connor is the star lacrosse player that has been dealing with expectations for years, while he wants to escape this world, he works with Max through the house. Benny is a gaming addict that has skipped school classes for years and sees this a chance to get involved in a new style of gaming. Aiden is the school bully, he will always look to put people down, while dealing with his own troubles back home. The five characters are all very different and have a lot more below the surface of who they are seen as in school.
Performances – When we look at the key performances from the five younger stars, they do bring their characters to life, showing their strengths and weaknesses in their performances.
Story – The story here follows five high school students that get selected to take part in a competition to win a mansion from a billionaire tech genius, which will see them get to learn more about themselves. This story does have a sense of adventure with a series of challenges that must deal with weaknesses the characters are hiding from in life, while needing to learn to work together will give them a sense of getting out the problems they are facing. If you are going to compare the story to certain other movies, one you would need to look at would be ‘The Breakfast Club’ with the idea of the five from the same school, from different social groups.
Sci-Fi – The film brings the usage of technology to bring different ideas to life within the mansion, each one will play into the student’s life.
Settings – The film uses the high school to show us who the five students are, while once inside the mansion, we see something different behind every door, sometimes something we wouldn’t expect.
Special Effects – The effects are used to create different moments of confrontation the characters must go through, with the VR world Benny finds himself going through.
Scene of the Movie – Facing the flaws.
Final Thoughts – This is a smart look at needing to learn to change things growing up before it is too late, with an idea which will bring to life a Charlie and the Chocolate Factor idea, with the Breakfast Club message.
Writer: Sheldon Wilson (Screenplay)
Starring: Jodelle Ferland, Sunny Suljic, Pascale Hutton, Anthony Konechny, Jonathan Whitesell, Jake Croker, Neal McDonough
Plot: In 1997 the Anderson family vanished from their home without a trace. No bodies were ever found. For 17 years the house has remained undisturbed… until now.
Tagline – The root of all evil awaits.
Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Basic Horror
Story: The Unspoken starts with the sudden disappearance of a family, blood covering the walls, 17-years-later there are still no answers and Jeanie (Hutton) and her son Adrian (Suljic) move in to start a new life, with local Angela (Ferland) being offered a job as a babysitter to help around the house as her father has been struggling for money.
On Angela’s first day, she finds herself alone in the house with Adrian, when she gets a visit from her popularity craving friend Pandy (Peloso) which soon starts to see the evil presence in the house waiting to come out and take its latest victim.
Thoughts on The Unspoken
Characters – Angela is the daughter of a widowed man, who has been struggling to find a job, she keeps to herself working in a day-care, when a new opportunity comes her way, a chance to take a more one to one role with a child. She doesn’t care about popularity like her best friend and is always wondering more about her mother’s past. Jeanie is the new owner of the house, she needs help around the house with her child and has asked for Angela, with her being the only one to get through to her child. Adrian is the young boy that does need some extra care, he doesn’t socialise very well and seems to be the main target of the evil. Officer Bower is the one that see strange occurrences around town and does his best to keep everyone out of trouble.
Performances – Jodelle Ferland was one of the icons of scary children in the early 2000’s, with Kingdom Hospital and Silent Hill to mention a few, now she becomes the main character the target of a hauntings as she is everything she needs to be without being anything new. The rest of the performance are nothing fancy, the kid is mostly just there, Pascale Hutton as the mother doesn’t do much and Neal McDonough might be the biggest name in the film, though he has nothing to do.
Story – The story here follows a young woman who gets given a job as a babysitter for a new family in town and soon strange things start to happen around the house because of the past events in that house. Where this story shines is by having the family happily move into a known murder home, it makes sense by the end, but the rest of the story is a completely flat, with not much going on, any horror is noise, investigate usually nothing, repeat, and the fact this film believes it does enough for a sequel is pure arrogance.
Horror – The horror in the film is rather flat, we don’t seem to get going with any of the scares, with most just being a noise and nothing else happening.
Settings – The film uses the idea that we are in a murder house as the setting, where everybody in town is scared of the house, but the new family seems happy to be there.
Special Effects – The effects are weak with the ghost creation not being the most frightening either, leaving this feeling rather weak all around.
Scene of the Movie – Marbles.
Final Thoughts – This is just a poor horror that tries to give us more of a shock value with its ending over a decent story.
Overall: Disappointing horror.