Gremlin (2017)

Director: Ryan Bellgardt

Writer: Ryan Bellgardt, Josh McKamie, Andy Swanson (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Hampton, Kristy K Boone, Catcher Stair, Katie Burgess, Mike Waugh, Caleb Milby

 

Plot: A man receives a mysterious box containing a terrible secret, a creature that will kill everyone else in his family unless he passes it on to someone he loves to continue its never-ending circulation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted Creature Feature

 

Story: Gremlin starts as we meet the Thatcher family, Adam (Hampton), Julie (Boone), Anna (Burgess) Charlie (Stair) and grandmother Mary (Wilcox) who receive the mysterious box from their Uncle Jim (Waugh) as the family is grieving the loss of their child.

When a small creature emerges from the box it starts taking lives, one at a time as Adam must follow the warning of giving it to someone he loves to break the curse put upon his family, but the secrets will come out about what happened to their other child and the personal lives of the family. Can they escape from this curse before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Gremlin

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the husband and father of the household, he receives the box as a gift but he has been dealing with the loss of his son by pushing his family away. Julie has been dealing with the family problems at home making sure the kids are coping with the loss and understand standing her husband’s flaws. Charlie is the son of the family who hides from the reality of losing his brother. Anna is rebelling against her parents in the typical teenage mindset which shows how she is pushing away from the family. This is a normal feeling family with their own problems through the day and now against this creature.

Performance wise, I feel the whole cast give good performances through the film, with the mystery behind what is occurring covering up any flaws.

StoryThe story does come off as original because we are left to see how the family must deal with a creature or Gremlin if you like that is coming out of a box killing loved ones at a random time during the day. We get new rules to the genre too with the idea you can’t kill the creature you can only pass it on which I do think adds a new level of terror to this story. I also like how the film doesn’t hold any punches when coming for the shocks but I would have liked to have seen more on the family looking at spiritual cures for the problem.

HorrorThe horror comes from the idea that a box will keep a Gremlin in that will kill your loved ones if you don’t pass it one, leaving our characters to battle with the idea of what they should do next.

SettingsWe have the home settings for most of the film because this is needed to show us just how close to home the horror will be for the family involved.

Special EffectsWe have a lot of CGI going on here and sure it isn’t the greatest but it does work with everything going on within the film. It is mostly all used for creating the creature which is menacing and terrifying through the film.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a new and original horror movie this is one for you to watch, it has morale questions as well as having the guts not to pull any punches.

 

Overall: Great addition to the horror world in 2017.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Necromentia (2009)

necDirector: Pearry Teo

Writer: Stephanie Joyce (Screenplay) Pearry Teo (Story)

Starring: Layton Matthews, Chad Grimes, Santiago Craig, Zelieann Rivera, Cole Braxton, Zach Cumer

 

Plot: Explores the use of a tattooed Ouija Board through the lives and perspectives of 4 people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Messy Horror

 

Story: Necromentia starts as we meet Hagen (Craig) who enjoys his pleasure through the corpse of his dead wife. When Travis (Grimes) walks into Hagen’s life exposing his twisted fantasies he offers to bring back Elizabeth (Rivera) by carving the tattoo key onto Hagen’s back forcing him to go into hell.

With Hagen going through a hell he could never imagine we flashback to learn about Travis’ motivation for trying to get into hell to find his brother Thomas (Cumer). I lost what the hell was going on and I am also not sure I have the characters in the right places either.

 

Thoughts on Necromentia

 

StoryI wish I could explain how I felt about the story but in the end I really don’t know what happened because the story telling process is so poor throughout this one.

HorrorThis is very gore filled horror trying to push our sense as to what we could take, but otherwise nothing stands out.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel strange and out of place to what is going on with none of the characters standing out. The performances are also sub-par at best leaving us feeling very disappointed.

SettingsThe settings are mostly chambers for the torture scenes all feeling dark and dingy throughout.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work for the bloody and gore going on through the film but otherwise it is all good for this only.

Final ThoughtsMessy horror that just doesn’t hit the points it is trying to hit leaving us feeling left behind.

 

Overall: Poorly executed horror film.

Rating15

 

 

Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)

Director: Takanori Tsujimoto

Writer: Makoto Fukami (Screenplay) Joe McClean (Adaptation)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Erin Cahill, Kevin Dorman, Jason Faunt, Matthew Mercer, Arnie Pantoja, Alexander Polinsky

 

Plot: Chris Redfield enlists the help of Leon S. Kennedy and Rebecca Chambers to stop a death merchant, with a vengeance, from spreading a deadly virus in New York.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Addition to the Animated Resident Evils

 

Story: Resident Evil: Vendetta starts as we see our soldier Chris Redfield searching a mansion for missing persons but the mission goes terribly wrong when the mansion is filled with the infected led by mercenary Glenn Arias who has a grudge with the system.

Chris teams up with Rebecca Chambers a scientist that has found a cure for the new virus being released in different areas of the world. The pair turn to Leon Kennedy to join in the battle against Arias, giving him a chance to finish everything once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Vendetta

 

Characters Chris Redfield has been fighting the infected for years, he always has a trick up his sleeve when it comes into battling them and now his leadership skills put the team into battle. Leon Kennedy returns once more to put an end to the infection spreading around the world, the same infection he has been battling for years. Rebecca Chambers is a scientist that has discovered a cure for the infection but she doesn’t know everything. Glenn Arias is a man looking for vengeance for the death of his wife to be and now he has all the cards on the table to take down the people that ruined his life. I believe these four characters placed together make this feel like the game more than the live action films.

StoryThe story does feel like it could be part of the video game world created, we have three different good characters looking to battle one big bad with obstacles along the way. This story is a good watch and easily more entertaining and complete than the live action films (which I do have a soft spot for). One glaring story problem is the smart scientist is just a damsel in distress which disappoints in a game world that has created strong female characters.

Action/Horror/MysteryThe action is all good, not quite as big as Damnation but a lot closer quarters. The motorbike sequences are both strange and delicious to watch though. I would say this film hits many of the horror marks needed but does try very hard with the opening sequence. The mystery is easier to solve too but it doesn’t feel like a problem here.

SettingsMoving the biggest action sequence to New York City instead of the fantasy worlds shows us how the infection is starting to become a bigger threat.

AnimationThe animation does look great and does feel like a series of cut scenes from the games.

Final ThoughtsIf you are a fan of the Resident Evil games and or the animated films you will enjoy this outing but I would suggest not starting here.

 

Overall: Enjoyable animated movie well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Static (2012)

staticDirector: Todd Levin

Writer: Gabriel Cowan, Todd Levin, John Suits (Screenplay) Gabriel Cowan, Andrew Orci, John Suits (Story)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Sarah Shahi, William Mapother, Sara Paxton, Dominic Bogart, Oz Kalvan, Luke Barnett, Oz Kalvan

 

Plot: A couple facing marital problems after losing their child finds their life together further complicated by a mysterious visitor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Final Twist Saving Film

 

Story: Static starts as we meet author Jonathan Dade (Ventimiglia) and his wife Addie (Shahi) who are grieving the loss of their son in their own way. Trying to work on their relationship they get interrupted by stranger Rachel (Paxton) who claims to be followed by some masked men.

Questioning her story only builds the tension between the couple until the lights go out and the intruders set their sights on getting into the house to take Jonathan and Addie too. Can they survive the night and what is the motives behind this invasion?

 

Thoughts on Static

 

StoryStatic goes down the home invasion angle for the story telling which is always going to be hard to top the big ones out there like The Strangers, The Purge or even Panic Room. This film clearly doesn’t reach these levels as it focuses on other trauma side to a couple’s relationship but I will say is saved by the final twist I didn’t see coming.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror in this story comes from the idea behind everything the unknown home invasion which works in parts but when it comes to the horror rules they all get broken with bad decision making. The mystery comes from just not knowing what is going on and why first Rachel and then the couple have been targeted. The thrilling side of this story comes from the attempts to make us uneasy about what could happen next.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters put into this situation are generic ones as we see the grieving couple trying to make things work out which means this night could re-build their relationship while the intruders just come off very outsiderish which does help make us feel uneasy whenever they come onto the screen. The Rachel character does feel slightly out of place because why wouldn’t the couple know their neighbours. When it comes to the acting well this isn’t the highlight of the film and I am a fan of all the four leading actors (Mapother is barely even in the film) in this film but there just seems to be zero chemistry between the couple. Each character does make sense by the end of the film though.

SettingsThe film takes place in nearly the whole time in and around the house which makes it all feel isolated because the characters don’t have anywhere to run and adding in the darkness builds the atmosphere needed.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to special effects we don’t have or need many but the few we get all come off well enough for the final story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a home invasion film that has everything nicely put together for a good feel but due to poor acting and chemistry it just doesn’t come together to the level it should do. The twist on what the intruders want seem like it is waiting to happen from early on but ends up giving us a twist I didn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Saved by the final twist because getting there is very slow.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Belko Experiment (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay)

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker

 

Plot: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Filled Thriller

 

Story: The Belko Experiment starts as we arrive in Bogota, Colombia where we meet a select few of our American business employees working in an isolated building, we have Mike (Gallagher Jr), Barry (Goldwyn), Leandra (Arjona), Wendell (McGinley), Dany (Diaz) and Bud (Rooker).

The normal office job for the America employees changes drastically when they notice all the locals have been sent home by the new guards and an announcement comes over the system that 2 employees need to be killed in 30 minutes as all the doors and windows lock down.

First believing this is a test the employees remain calm at first but when people’s heads start exploding from the trackers the employees have this turns into a life and death battle, the next message is that the employees have 2 hours to kill 30 of the remaining 76 people or the people holding them will randomly select 60, but the questions are why are they being tested like this? Who will turn on their friends? And when will they get out?

 

Thoughts on The Belko Experiment

 

Characters/PerformanceMike is a high-ranking supervisor in the office, he knows everyone having a good relationship with his boss Barry and his girlfriend Leandra. Barry is the CEO of the company, he is the highest ranked member of staff, he does the best he can to control the people through this panic. Leandra is another one of the supervisors, she knows she is beautiful and happy to flaunt it. Wendell is the older employee who clearly feels stuck in the cubical while seeing younger people being his boss, Dany is the newest employee, she deals with not knowing people but her past will help her through the conflict. Bud is the building maintenance that tries to find a place to get out of the enclosed building. It would be fair to say we only learn the characters nature during the situation rather than before it.

Performance wise, John Gallagher Jr steps up into a leading role after quality performances in supporting roles last year and he fits this role wonderfully. Tony Goldwyn is fantastic in this role being heartless through the situation. John C McGinley is great even if his role feels like all of the creepy of Dr Cox without the sarcasm. Adrian Arjona is good in this role where she is a strong leading woman. Michael Rooker is good for his role with Melonie Diaz doing a good job too. The truth is the whole cast is great through the film showing the panic required for the situation.

StoryThe story of an office block needing to kill or be killed to survive a test is one of the most intense thrillers we have seen in years. This completely keeps you on edge as you need to see just how far the office workers will go when pushed to the limits. This does have a lot borrowed from Battle Royale but so what it just changes the environment making it adults rather than kids going through the same test.

Action/Horror/ThrillerThe action side of the story is with how the people will be getting attack and killed which gets creative in places. The horror side of the story comes from seeing how people will react to everything going on as you get to see the worst in people. The thriller side of the film is the highlight because all you want is to see who will make it out alive.

SettingsThe whole film is set within the office complex in the middle of nowhere, the people are trapped inside with nowhere to run, no way of getting help making this tick all the boxes for a brilliant use of location.

Special EffectsFrom the first kill to the last each kill looks fantastic through the film showing us the just how to make effects work in film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the thrillers of the year, it has moments of social commentary too which add a dark humour to what we are seeing and you actually feel like you are not sure who will survive the day.

 

Overall: Potential thriller of the year?

Rating