Blood Pageant (2021) Movie Review

Director: Harvey Lowry

Writer: Chris Gilmore, Anthony J Sands (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Snoop Dogg, Danielle C Ryan, Beverley Mitchell, Matthew Marsden, David Chokachi, Ted Lange, Christina DeRosa, Ellia English, Joanna De Castro, Julianna Destefano, Steve Spiro, Gayle Gaston, Michael Collins

Plot: What began as a million-dollar reality show competition between seven beautiful women turns into a battle for life itself when one contestant uses black magic to gain an edge over the competition. An ancient curse dating back to the Salem Witch Trials is unleashed and the competition becomes a Blood Pageant of death, destruction, and evil forces.  Forget about who will win… who will survive?

Tagline – Meet your new Queen… and die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Blood Pageant starts when seven beautiful women Crystal (Castro), Amy (Destefano), Chloe (Chen), Mocha (Cortez), Lucie (Savostikova), Peyton (Day) and Isabella (Adams) enter the latest edition of American Dream, hosted by Barry (Chokachi) a scripted reality show.

With Barry always looking to create extra drama in the show, Amy has her own plans for winning the competition, looking to make sure the other contestants are going to get in her way for victory, as a set of paranormal events start happening around the set.

Thoughts on Blood Pageant

Characters & Performances – Crystal is the religious school teacher that is willing to risk a chance to win the competition, as well as wanting to hold onto her beliefs, she doesn’t like lying and isn’t willing to fold in the same way the other women in the competition will. She is one of the few people that will have the strength to fight back against the evil in the house. JoAnna De Castro is solid enough in her role, she makes her character feel different to the rest of the women in the home. Amy is the contestant that has been working with the s life coach to make sure she wins, while trying to fighting the typical figures in these competitions. Julianna Destefano also makes her character standout from the rest of the crowd, which will give the pair an edge of over the rest of the cast. The other women in the competition are largely forgettable, with just being what we have seen before and what you would expect in the beauty competition. When it comes to the people behind the scenes, we get the loud mouth director, the presenter who thinks he is the most important part of the show, all of them becoming the over top figures you could see in the world. We do get appearances from big names who are mostly here more for cameo like performances for important sequences in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a new series of America Dream a reality show where seven contestants battle it out in a scripted reality show to see who will win one million dollar prize, only for an evil presence to make itself known on set, targeting anyone that gets in its way. This is a story that will look to poke a bit of fun at the scripted reality show world, by adding the supernatural feel to it, in a similar way that Dead Set did years ago. The story gives us the characters you would expect and would expect to be picked off in horror films, with one of the biggest weakness in this film being the runtime, this is a slasher like horror movie that could easily have been an hour and half and still got the same message over. The battle between good and evil works well enough, with the sleezy figures getting what is coming to them, we could have had more focus on the horror side of the story, with most of the final act being rushed to fill in the gaps rather than slowly letting everything that has happened unfold, as well as the missing contestants never getting the true attention required for what was at stake.

ThemesBlood Pageant is a horror film that likes to poke fun at scripted reality shows, which will hold back the scares, despite there being an interesting idea behind what is causing the supernatural events on the set to happen. The singular big house location for the show does help, but doesn’t answer the questions about why contestants would just vanish, with the effects showing the low budget behind everything we see.

Final Thoughts Blood Pageant is an easy watch horror that doesn’t hit any of the scares it wants to, focusing more on poking fun at the reality tv world.

The Last Bus – Release News

UK CINEMA RELEASE DATE  Friday 27th August

John O’Groats, Scotland: An elderly man, Tom (Spall), whose wife has just passed away uses only local buses on a nostalgic trip to carry her ashes all the way across the UK to Land’s End, where they originally met, using his free bus pass. Unbeknownst to Tom, his journey begins to capture the imagination of the local people that he comes across and, ultimately, becomes a nationwide story.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – W – We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018) Movie Review

Director: Stacie Passon

Writer: Mark Kruger (Screenplay) Shirley Jackson (Novel)

Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan, Paula Malcomson, Peter Coonan, Ian Toner

Plot: Merricat, Constance and their Uncle Julian live in isolation after experiencing a family tragedy six years earlier. When cousin Charles arrives to steal the family fortune, he also threatens a dark secret they’ve been hiding.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

Story: We Have Always Lived in the Castle starts as we meet Merricat (Farmiga) and her older sister Constance (Daddario) Blackwood who continue to live in the family mansion under the care of Uncle Julian (Glover), they are not welcomed around town, with the mystery of what happened to their father still hanging over their heads.

Merricat has always been trying to keep Constance in the house, but when their cousin Charles (Stan) arrives it does make a mess of her plans and she must go to extreme lengths to keep her family together.

Thoughts on We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Characters – Merricat is the youngest member of the house, she looks after her older sister that is still scared to leave the house after the incident, she goes into town where she knows the people don’t like her and will do anything to keep the family together. Constance was once the outgoing of the sisters, she lost that when she was involved in an incident, which now keeps her housebound in fear of what people will say, this is until her cousin arrives, which sees her wanting to go out in the world again, even if she isn’t stable enough for this. Uncle Julian acts like the caretaker who has been looking to make a book of the events, always looking to create the next chapter. Charles is the cousin that arrives at the house, which sees everything start to spiral out of control with how he clashes with Merricat.

PerformancesTaissa Farmiga and Alexandra Daddario are both strong in the film, they show how the characters do feel isolated in their world, with the troubles they have been through. Crispin Glover is entertaining when he is let loose, while Sebastian Stan does seem weird, but doesn’t make the bigger enough of effect.

StoryThe story follows two sisters living outside of a small town, they live away from the rest of the town often seen as outsiders, with their peace being shattered by a distant relative. This story doesn’t seem to get going, which ends up just following the characters around the house, trying to rebuild their own reputations with what they once had or losing everything they once had.

MysteryThe mystery is meant to be about what is happened in the mansion before, leading to the mentality of the characters.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the mansion, which shows the life of luxury the sisters have been living in.

Scene of the Movie – The fire.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The mystery seems flat.

Final Thoughts This is forgettable drama mystery that just doesn’t seem to get going on the levels it could do or tries to give us to work with.

Overall: Mostly dull.