The Canyonlands (2021) Movie Review

The Canyonlands – Entertaining Canyon Slasher

Director: Brendan Devane

Writer: Brendan Devane (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephanie Barkley, Marque Bobesich, Wayne Charles Baker, Sheldon D Brown, Larry Yazzie, Ari Anderson, dennis Connors, Lauren Capkanis, Jesse Buck-Brennan

Plot: After 5 people win a rafting trip down the Colorado in Utah, their adventure takes a deadly turn when they camp off the river for the night, and find out they aren’t the only ones out in the remote rugged canyon lands.


Tagline – Blood is thicker than water

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Canyonlands starts when Lauren (Barkley) an experience guide reluctantly agrees to take five young people, Dave (Brown), Jennifer (Anderson) Kyle (Connors), Sarah (Capkanis) and Ryan (Buck-Brennan) of an overnight rafting trip, despite her own suffering of nightmares of a previous trip along the river.

As the night comes, the six find themselves being stalked by a mysterious native that hides in the shadows looking to pick off the victims.

Thoughts on The Canyonlands

Characters & Performances – Lauren is the tortured soul that is suffering from the nightmares of her life, she guides people up and down the Colorado River, knowing the area better than anyone else. She is leading the people with the best of her ability, not letting them deal with any of the nonsense they want to play up on her. She must do what she can to protect her guests when she comes face to face with a spirit of the past. Stephanie Barkley does handle the darker tormented side of her character, as well as the leader she needs to be on the trip. When it comes to the five guests, we do fall into the horror levels of stereotypes, we have the nerdy figure in Kyle who always looks nervous. Dave the stoner who is just looking for a good time. Sarah the social influencer that is shallow wanting to take photos all the time. Ryan is the jock figure, wanting to be an MMA fighter and Jennifer is the one that has been on many of these trips before. The actors all play into the roles well through the film. We get a mysterious killer looking to pick off the characters in the canyon as well, with a bloodlust and mining axe to hunt his victims.

StoryThe story here follows a group of rafters on an overnight trip that find their trip interrupted by a miner that is looking to kill anyone that gets in his way. This does start as a slasher type story that you would expect to see unfold in the way it does, it has the generic characters doing the basics, making for an entertaining story. It is when we get into the back story where things can elevate again, bring us an idea that plays into a bigger picture that we could see more of in the future. This is everything you would expect and will enjoy in a slasher film for a story side of things.

ThemesThe Canyonlands is a horror that brings the slasher world to the Colorado River with a new killer idea that is a native American miner figure, using his mining axe as the weapon of choice. The location does work to bring us a fresh approach to the genre, with the dark canyons adding tension of the unknown for the victims.

 

The Canyonlands is a slasher that gets everything right with a nice new killer and weapon of choice.

The Winter Lake (2020) Movie Review

The Winter Lake – Thrilling Coming of Age Tale

Director: Phil Sheerin

Writer: David Turpin (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Mackey, Charlie Murphy, Mark McKenna, Michael McElhatton, Anson Boon, Ally Ni Chiarain

Plot: After making a grim discovery in a seasonal lake, a withdrawn teenager discovers the truth about his neighbours, a father and daughter harbouring sinister secrets.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Winter Lake starts as Tom (Boon) and his mother Elaine (Murphy) are looking to get their lives back on track by moving away to an Irish village. Tom has caused trouble in the past, with this looking to be his fresh start. He meets Holly (Mackey) the neighbour who has been harbouring a dark secret, with her father Ward (McElhatton).

As Tom starts to get to know Holly, he starts to learn about her troubles, while still wanting to know what the secret they have been keeping really is.

Thoughts on The Winter Lake

Characters & Performances – Tom is the young man that has found himself getting into trouble in the past, this has seen him relocating with his mother to try and put those mistakes behind them. He keeps to himself most days, prefer that to being around others, until he makes a discovery which will shock him. He doesn’t know who to trust around the new area, with Holly being the one he would want to trust, even if she is involved in the bigger secret. Anson Boon does a good job here, making his character feel distant in every scene, showing just how complex his character is meant to be. Holly is the neighbour that Tom starts to get to know, she has a secret and has been living a life that isn’t anything like what she is known for outside her home. She does come off friendly and sees Tom as her way out of the trapped life she seems to be in. Emma Mackey is strong in her role, giving her character the strength shown despite having a tortured soul. Elaine is the mother of Tom’s, she has made the decision to try and give the two a fresh start, wanting to car for her son but at times feeling helpless. Charlie Murphy does well in the supporting role here, giving us everything we need. Ward is Holly’s father that feels like he needs to fix the problem they have been facing, becoming a threat to Tom. Michael McElhatton does bring us a creepy character that will always feel like he will be problem in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a mother and son looking to rebuild their life, only to find themselves dealing with a problem they have discovered from their neighbour who is looking to keep something a secret. The story does give us a coming-of-age tale about finding yourself in the world after mistakes, which will come from doing the right thing and letting family into your life. We do get a mystery involved too, which will offer the threat to Tom and what it might mean to his life if he isn’t careful. The story does have a moody atmosphere to everything that is going on too.

ThemesThe Winter Lake is a thriller that will give us a big mystery about what Tom finds, which will play into the bigger picture of is going on, which helps by showing how a small village will always have secrets about it.

The Winter Lake is a tense thriller that will give us a big mystery as the coming-of-age side of the story becomes clear.

The Winter Lake will be available on Digital Download from 15th March

Lucky (2020) Movie Review

Lucky – Smart Spin on Slasher Genre

Director: Natasha Kermani

Writer: Brea Grant (Screenplay)

Starring: Brea Grant, Hunter C Smith, Kristina Klebe, Kauser Mohammed, Dhruv Uday Singh, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Keith M Burke

Plot: A suburban woman fights to be believed as she finds herself stalked by a threatening figure who returns to her house night after night. When she can’t get help from those around her, she is forced to take matters into her own hands.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Lucky starts as we meet author May (Grant) whose latest book hasn’t gone down well, her husband Ted (Singh) is supporting her career. May’s life gets turned upside when she learns about an intruder in the home at night, one that Ted informs her appears every night.

May is left alone to deal with the intruder each night, planning on getting the upper hand each time, but every time she goes to get the body for the police, the body vanishes, with each night offering up a different challenge for May to face.

Thoughts on Lucky

Characters & Performances – May is an author of business books that has seen her latest work receive negative reactions. She is happily married, but after an attack in their home, she is left alone after disagreeing with her husband about what is going on. She must figure out how to stop an intruder that comes into their home, when every time she does, the body vanishes. She must figure out what is happening to move on with her life. Brea Grant is great in this leading role, showing the tough fighter, who uses the brain to fight over just weapons. The Man is the intruder that appears in May’s home, he is trying to attack and kill her, before vanishing, returning another time. While we aren’t meant to learn much about this character, the mystery is the main plot of the film. May is the main character, the supporting character are part of her life, each person is trying to help react to the problems she is facing.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that finds herself being stalked by an intruder in her home and every time she fights them off, she can’t find the body, with them returning again, with no explanation on their attack. This is a very interesting story, which could well have got inspiration from ‘Happy Death Day’ while putting its own stamp on it. It does have the idea that repeating style, which will add all the mystery to the story. I feel the story is one that you will need to put you own feeling on what is going on, which could have a bigger message to society. However, it doesn’t seem to give us a full answer, that might leave people feeling flat by the ending.

ThemesLucky is a horror slasher movie that isn’t afraid to hold back on the fights between killer and victim, but has a sci-fi style twist on how the killer keeps coming back. We might not get full stalker mode involved in the horror, but we will be kept waiting to see how the first attack will occur.

Lucky is an enjoyable horror slasher that brings a fresh twist on dealing with an indestructible killer.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – A – American Honey (2016) Movie Review

Director: Andrea Arnold

Writer: Andrea Arnold (Screenplay)

Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough, McCaul Lombardi, Arielle Holmes, Crystal Ice, Veronica Ezell

Plot: A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.


Tagline – Wild and astonishing! An indelible epic of the open road!

Runtime: 2 Hours 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Realistic Look at American Struggles

Story: American Honey starts as teenager Star (Lane) is wandering around the streets with her younger siblings, she sees the mysterious Jake (LaBeouf) around and learns that he is involved in a travelling magazine, offering Star a way to get out off the empty life. Star takes the chance joining the travelling team with Krystal (Keough) running the operations, Star needs to learn on the job with the other teenagers and young adults from around America.

As Star learns about the people she is working with, she learns about the reality of life, by partying too hard and learning just what love can be.

Thoughts on American Honey

Characters – Star is a teenage girl that hasn’t got much of a future, she comes from an abusive family, where she tries to raise her younger siblings, she sees her chance to experience the world and must learn quickly or face a future that doesn’t see her achieving anything with her life, we see the whole story through her eyes. Jake is the one that brings Star into the world, he makes it seem like it will be easy and that the people involved can have fun along the way, he does seem to take advantage of Star along the way too, playing into the naïve nature of the her. Krystal is the woman that is running the whole magazine selling process, she will demand they people make sales no matter what happens and if they don’t meet the requirements, she will just leave them on the side of the road.

PerformancesSasha Lane is wonderful in the leading role of the film, she shows all the naivety needed to make us understand her character and how the journey is making her break out of her shell. Shia LaBeouf is great to see as the man that can manipulate the girls he picks up. Riley Keough is great as the stricter leader of the group making us believe just how strict she is.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that runs away to join a travelling magazine group of fellow teenagers and young adults, here she must learn about life quickly, to see how difficult like can be for many people from around the country. This story shows just how difficult life can be for the younger generation when they are faced without a future that could offer them any stability, we focus on just one girl that is stuck facing this future and wondering if this life is what she is looking for or not, as she sees just how people can use people to get what they want from each walk of life. This should be an eye opening to the world and one story that is an important look at a future people will be facing.

RomanceThe romance Star gets involved in, is shown on how she sees them, she often thinks more is happening that there is, which gives her a lesson in love.

SettingsThe film keeps us on the road, Star gets to see the better off homes and the ones that reflect the world she has come from.


Scene of the Movie – Star visits a home like her own.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is longer than it needs to be.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at how difficult life in America has become, it shows us through the eyes of a teenage girl that is facing a life she couldn’t get much out of.

Overall: Important and Eye Opening.

Come True (2020) Movie Review

Come True – Beautiful Mind Bender

Director: Anthony Scott Burns

Writer: Anthony Scott Burns (Screenplay) Daniel Weissenberger (Story)

Starring: Landon Liboiron, Julie Sarah Stone, Chantal Perron, Tedra Rogers, Carlee Ryski

Plot: A teenage runaway takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Come True starts as we meet Sarah (Stone) who does suffer from nightmares, she keeps herself to herself, avoiding her parents back home, waiting for them to leave before going back home. Finding it ever more increasingly difficult to sleep, Sarah turns to a sleep study in hope of finding answers.

As Sarah starts the study, her nightmares become clearer, with the head of the research Jeremy (Liboiron) letting her see behind the curtain of what they are doing, Sarah continues to be haunted by the figures.

Thoughts on Come True

Characters & Performances – Sarah is the young woman that has been suffering from nightmares, remaining distant from her family along the way. She agrees to take part in a study, hoping it could answer a few questions, only to be left with more questions. She seems to have figures in her nightmare, ones that are getting closer each time, turning to the behind the scenes search for the truth behind the study. Julia Sarah Stone is great in the role, showing us just how distant she is becoming in life and how desperate to find answers. Jeremy is one of the men running the study, he starts getting close to Sarah, breaking the rules put in place to show her just what they are studying, trying to help her find the answers. Landon Liboiron is strong in this role, showing a character that is willing to risk their career for helping someone. The rest of the characters we meet are involved in the study, which will show us just how people will be reacting to the world Sarah is entering, some have been here before, others haven’t.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that is struggling with the nightmares she is going through and turns to a sleep study, here she gets to experience stranger events from her dreams. This is a story that will keep surprising us, it seems like it might be going down one road, only to throw a full curveball in the middle of what we are expecting. The character of Sarah does have plenty of mystery about her, along with the figure she is seeing. We add in the science behind the study, which records dreams, which does becoming impressive with how the stories are shown. This is a story that will make you think once it is all over.

ThemesCome True is a horror movie that brings us a world where the nightmares affect everyday life, with figures appearing causing the nightmares to get worse. We enter the sci-fi world in reading the dreams, using the machines that record the dreams, keeping them looking grainy throughout. this is where special effects come in and work to show the uncertainty of what people are seeing.

Come True will be in UK Cinemas from 12th March, on Digital Download from 15th March & on Limited Edition Blu-ray from 5th April

Come True is a fascinating horror sci-fi that will leave you shocked by the conclusion we go through.