No Such Thing as Monsters (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stuart Stanton

Writer: Karen Elgar, Stuart Stanton (Screenplay)

Starring: Angel Giuffria, Georgia Crisfield Smith, Matthew Clarke, David Macrae, Rebecca Fortuna, Michaela Pascoe

Plot: A young couple on a romantic weekend in the Australian bush are terrorised by a psychopathic family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: No Such Thing As Monsters starts when a couple Mary (Giuffria) and David (Clarke) head off for a camping trip, while Mary is reluctant to go on because of her fears of being in tight locations. The pair find themselves with another family Amy (Smith), Becca (Fortuna), Belly (Pascoe) and Elmer (Fyfe) who use the location for a yearly trip.

The family has other ideas though, abducting the couple taking them to their remote location leaving Mary locked up in the camper van, where she is left to wonder what is happening to David.

Thoughts on No Such Thing As Monsters

Characters – Mary reluctantly agrees to join her boyfriend on the trip away, she isn’t a fan of tight spaces and would prefer a cottage getaway, but she is trying to get used to change. She tries to befriend the other campers, only to find herself locked up in the campervan with no escape in sight. David likes the outdoors, with this being a chance for him to pop the big question, he is taken, tied up and used for the benefit of the women. Amy is the timid member of the family who has been scared, she always covers herself up and is the only member of the family that tries to defend Mary from the others. Becca, Nelly and Elmer are the family members that have taken the couple with plans for their own with them.

PerformancesAngel Giuffria in the leading role does a strong job showing us the hopelessness of the situation she finds herself in, while Rebecca Fortuna and Michaela Pascoe show us the crazy side of the siblings.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are on a camping trip, only to find themselves taken by a psychotic family, who have plans for them as they suffer through a long ordeal. While this story is pretty much a by the book idea of a couple being taken, it is the length of the ordeal which will make it stand out, we see the days, weeks and months pass by, as they suffer, instead of the quick general escape concept we are used to seeing. It does start to get a little bit repetitive, as we just get caught up spending more time wondering what is happening, over producing the true shock of the truth.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from first being taken and how the couple are put for their lengthy ordeal.

SettingsThe film uses the remote setting to show how a family could be getting away with the plan they have, showing us you never know what you will find inside the woods.

Scene of the Movie – First escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dumb decisions.

Final Thoughts No Such Thing As Monsters is an interesting spin on the abduction story, which will show us the horrific lengthy ordeal the couple must go through.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Y – You Should Have Left (2020) Movie Review

Director: David Koepp

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Daniel Kehlmann (Novel)

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, Avery Tiiu Essex, Colin Blumenau, Lowri Ann Richard, Joshua C Jackson, Eli Powers

Plot: A former banker, his actress wife, and their spirited daughter book a vacation at an isolated modern home in the Welsh countryside where nothing is quite as it seems.

Tagline – The House Finds You.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

Story: You Should Have Left starts when a former bank Theo (Bacon), his actress wife Susanna (Seyfried) and daughter Ella (Essex) decide to take a break from their busy lives, by heading to the Welsh countryside to relax.

Only Theo’s past will continue to haunt him, with reputation after his first wife died, with many people believing he killed her, could this vacation bring about the truth.

Thoughts on You Should Have Left

Characters – Theo is a former banker, who lost his first wife and was accused of her death, proven not guilty he has been trying to continue his own life, even if people still see him as guilty. He has remarried, which has seen him starting to question his own wife’s actions and with his own nightmares, notices something isn’t right in this house he has rented for a vacation. Susanna is the actress wife of Theo’s she is younger and often gets put in the situation of mistaken for his daughter, her career does keep her busy and keeping her on her phone more than often. Ella is the young daughter that both love no matter what the differences between them, she shows the innocent nature that both wish to have, which the evil starts to search for.

PerformancesKevin Bacon does all he can with the leading role, only it does seem to not let him give us everything we could see from him. Amanda Seyfried does all she can too, not being involved in the horror element of the film.

StoryThe story here follows a family that look to go on vacation only for the father’s past coming back to the light as the family find themselves getting haunted by the unknown. The story does try to bring us a element of shock with how a past story could have a different truth, while getting bogged down showing how toxic the relationship between the couple truly are. The final twenty minutes are where most of the horror occurs, only it doesn’t seem to get as strong as it could be and ends up confusing the story more than anything else.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is mostly flat, it is difficult to see what was meant to be the horror side of things, with the mystery just not hitting home either.

SettingsThe film set in w remote house, which is massive leading to endless corridors, where not everything is what it seems like on the outside.

Scene of the Movie – Get your coat Ella.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We have two, first why would you just casually talk about a previous death in the family to a 6 year old, and how quick was Susanna’s bath where Theo goes through her stuff.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that doesn’t seem to deliver the scares it wants to and ends up feeling flat throughout the whole film.

Overall: Flat Horror.

Break Even (2020) Movie Review

Director: Shane Stanley

Writer: CJ Walley (Screenplay)

Starring: Tasya Teles, Steve Guttenberg, James Callis, Joseph Reitman, Joanna Pacula, Ivan Sergei

Plot: Four adventurous friends find 50M in cash at a remote island only to discover it was left by the DEA for the Cartel in a rogue deal.

Tagline – Live Fast…Play Dirty

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Break Even starts as four friends Jaq (Teles), Rosie (Reyes), Sebastian (Bailey) and Dash (Fellows) are having a weekend away on a yacht, which will see them stumble across $50 Million dollars, money that is part of a DEA deal with Agent Crowe (Pacula) has with drug lord Zalman (Callis).

The friends decide to keep the money with Jaq offering them a chance to clean the money to keep things to themselves, but now they must go on the run from the threat coming their way.

Thoughts on Break Even

Characters – Jaq takes charge of the friends, having the knowledge to help the friends escape with the money, she has the connections, makes the plan and is prepared to escape, she is distant from her partner on the trip and pushes them into break the law if they want to keep the money. Rosie, Dash and Bradley complete the friend group, each of them is thrown into a world they are not prepared to be in, filled with the errors along the way. Agent Crowe is leading the deal, she is as dirty as they come and is always looking to get money out of any drug deal on the island. Zalman is the drug lord that is waiting for the deal to go through, he will always kill the people that get in his way or take from him.

PerformancesWe do have a big cast here, which at times doesn’t always give the more important cast members enough spotlight, but when Tasya Teles takes charge, she does look the part, while Brent Bailey and Erik Fellows fall into the generic male characters, and Alisa Reyes grows as it feels like her character is treating the whole adventure as a role play weekend. Joanna Pacula as the crooked DEA agent is strong without being one of the highlights of the film, which is where most of the authority figures fall.

StoryThe story here follows four friends that find $50 million of drug money and decide to come up with a plan to escape with the money, with both the drug lords and DEA chasing them down. The story does deal with the unlikely find of fortune which will need a sensible plan to survive, while the two different sides are looking to hunt them down, we do get the attempts of throwing in twists. But they only seem to hold the story down, rather than drive it forward.

ActionThe action in the film is chases, with the car chase through the desert being the best of the few we see.

SettingsWe are set on an island outside of America, without stating which one it is, with the hints that we are dealing in a world where the drug lords roam the land.

Scene of the Movie – Escape on the boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The Scooby Doo like chase.

Final Thoughts Break Even is an action film that wants to bring us an edgy side, with the twists in the story, only to end up being by the book and filled with comical behaviour along the way.