Intensive Care (2018)

Director: Jared Bentley

Writer: Jared Bentley, Darrin Scane, Eric Storlie (Screenplay)

Starring: Tara Macken, Jai Rodriguez, Kevin Sizemore, Jose Rosete, Leslie Easterbrooke

 

Plot: Three low-life criminals attempt to rob an elderly dying woman’s home, but her live-in nurse turns out to be much more trouble than they bargained for.


Tagline – Crazy knows crazy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Flick

 

Story: Intensive Care starts as we see just how talented a fighter Alex (Macken) is as she leaves her previous military life to become a live-in nurse for Claire (Easterbrook). Claire has one remain grandson Danny (Rodriguez) who has his own financial problems, which brings in Seth (Sizemore) and Rudy (Rosete).

With Danny trying to distract Alex, so the others can break into the house and steal the life savings, it isn’t long before the three learn they messed with the wrong woman in Alex who will make them pay for what they did.

 

Thoughts on Intensive Care

 

Characters – Alex is a former marine that has shown her skills for audience in the opening sequence, she has step away from that life to become a live-in nurse believing it will be a quiet life. She will once again need to show her skills to fight off three criminals trying to rob her patient. She knows how to take out anyone who is bigger and stronger than her, while also being able to handle large amounts of punishment. Danny is the grandson of Claire, the only living relative who has gotten himself into money problems hoping that he can take her money while she is on her death bed, he uses his charm to distract Alex, while he is being forced into going along with the plan. Seth and Rudy are the two that are left to locate the money hoping to make sure they get their money and finish their deal with Danny.

PerformancesTara Macken in the leading role proves to be a good one, with her background in stunt-work we get to see her handle combat sequences through the film. Jai Rodriguez will give you most memorable scenes in the film with his action being the parts of the film you will remember the most because they bring a small element of humour. Kevin Sizemore and Jose Rosete are both good too as the generic bigger guys for Alex to fight.

StoryThe story follows one former military lady that needs to fight off three criminals who are trying to steal the money in the home. This sounds simple enough right, well it is until we get too the moments where both sides are interested in proving they are better than the opponents. This story could and should have ended a lot earlier because both sides have clear chances to eliminate the problems and for the most part, they fail to do this. This is a story that doesn’t end in the way you would imagine either and please stay for a post-credit scene.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action is the highlight of the film because we get plenty of fight sequences for Tara Macken to go through, this brings in the crime side of the film as the criminals want the money and will do anything to get it and the horror side of the film plays into the home invasion side to horror that works well here without being truly terrifying.

SettingsThe film takes place in one location, a home in the middle of nowhere with open surroundings which shows just how difficult to escape from, for both sides.


Scene of the Movie –
Car ride.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One phone call seems too random

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice simple action flick that can be enjoyed by the action fans, being just over an hour long we get to keep everything going well, never letting up.

 

Overall: Entertaining action film.

Rating

 

 

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Classic Franchise Month – Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

Director: Mick Garris

Writer: Joseph Stefano (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Henry Thomas, Olivia Hussey, CCH Pounder, Warren Frost, Donna Mitchell

 

Plot: Norman Bates recalls his childhood with his abusive mother while fearing his unborn child will inherit his split personality disorder.


Tagline – You’ve met Norman… now meet mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: When Sequels Are Bad, Go Prequel

 

Story: Psycho IV: The Beginning starts as Norman Bates (Perkins) listening to a local radio station which is having the discussion about children killing their mother’s. Norman gives us a backstory to his relationship with his mother Norma (Hussey) as teenager Norman (Thomas) commits his first murder.

As he reveals his story the shows rating increase, but when he says he is ready to kill again, it becomes clearly that Norman has been pushed over the edge once again.

 

Thoughts on Psycho IV: The Beginning

 

Characters – In the characters we have two different versions of Norman, the older one who has committed the crimes in the past and now telling his story after moving on with his life and the teenage one that is getting abused by his mother as he first starts out his killing spree, this one is more interesting to watch as seeing him on the edge makes it easier to understand his motivation for his actions. Norma Bates is Norman’s mother, in this film she is very much alive and we see just how she treated Norman when she wasn’t happy with the way his life was going, trying to force him into being a girl.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins mostly gives us the commentary of his characters past, he is a good story teller which is what he must do. Henry Thomas does work as a younger Norman which is good he handles the creepy side of the character well. Olivia Hussey makes for a great Norma Bates, she looks seductive and easily hits the strict level needed.

StoryThe story here takes us to the origin of what drove Norman to become the killer, we get these through a radio show where he tells the story and see the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. This works because the sequel line was getting boring after a while, showing us that we needed to go to the prequel line to learn more of the motivation. This however does cause problems for the most part because we jump all over the place in the timeline of creating him, while in the modern time Norman must face his own battle with his mind while telling the story again.

Horror/MysteryThe horror elements do seem to have come out of the film now, we do get the murders, but they never feel scary, the mystery of doing this as a prequel doesn’t help because we know where the film will end up going.

SettingsThe film gives us less time at the Bates Motel, making the scenes there being the highlights of the film, but away from it we lose that IT factor about the Norman character.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie have improved, when it comes to the murders and the different styles Norman use we feel like they are real this time.


Scene of the Movie –
Young Norman doing the deed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The confusion timeline in the flashback scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the Psycho franchise, you could skip over three and still end up in a good position with everything and how this film directs the story.

 

Overall: Nice addition.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise Month – Psycho III (1986)

Director: Anthony Perkins

Writer: Charles Edward Pogue (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Lee Garlington

 

Plot: Norman Bates falls in love with a fallen nun who stays at the Bates Motel alongside a drifter and a curious reporter. Meanwhile, “mother” is still watching.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back to normal. But Mother’s off her rocker again!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Decline Has Started

 

Story: Psycho III starts when nun Maureen (Scarwid) is involved in a terrible accident at the monastery, forcing her on the run receiving a lift from drifter Duane (Fahey). Duane ends up at the Bates Motel getting a job from Norman Bates (Perkins) whose latest guest ends up being Maureen.

When Norman starts seeing Marion Crane in Maureen, he starts to battle his nightmares once again and sees his chance to redeem himself after saving her life, but Mother is always watching him.

 

Thoughts on Psycho III

 

Characters – Norman Bates has the Motel open and is looking for support, the town has accepted he has done his time, but he still battles his demons and his mother in his head. His latest guest brings back the memories of Marion Crane and the battle in his mind becomes the toughest since his release. Maureen is a nun that is on the verge of suicide, this leads to a death on the monastery she is part of and her going on the run, ending up at the Bates Motel becoming friends with Norman, little does she know she is similar to Marion Crane.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins does keep his performance strong where you can believe how creepy he does feel in each scene, though stepping behind the camera didn’t help keep the focus on his character. Diana Scarwid is good for the most part even if her screaming doesn’t feel as real as it should. Jeff Fahey makes for a good drifter character knowing just how sleezy to make his character.

StoryThe story here follows the events of Psycho II as we see where Norman is after what happens at the end of that film, Norman is still balancing his new life with his battle of his mind about his mother as the lost souls find themselves in the motel. The story feels strange when connecting together because we have part romance, part loss of control and neither connect on a level we would enjoy and everything just turns into chaos. For the most part this tries to address the idea of being part of the public again when Norman is clearly unstable. There is a lot of material which tries to balance the idea of the murders happening again only this time Norman believes it might be him.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from the additional body count happening, there is no suspense before the murders though, the mystery comes from just whether Norman is in fact killing again or is it in his mind.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the Bates Motel which does look creepy still, but is never shown in the fear filled atmosphere of the previous films.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel weaker too, as we don’t get to see enough of what is happening to the characters during the murders.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence is the stand out scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The screaming is never believable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker addition to the franchise, it doesn’t have enough to make it feel worthy of the franchise and shows the decline we have taken.

 

Overall: Poor sequel that didn’t even cash grab well.

Rating

 

 

Sabrina (2018) Netflix Film Review

Director: Rocky Soraya

Writer: Rihaem Junianti, Fajar Umbara (Screenplay) Rocky Soraya (Story)

Starring: Luna Maya, Christian Sugiono, Sara Wijayanto, Jeremy Thomas, Rizky Hanggono, Richelle Georgette Skornicki

 

Plot: Maira lives happily with Aiden, a doll maker and toy company owner. But Vanya, their adopted daughter and Aiden’s niece, is still dealing with the loss of her birth mother. After Vanya plays Charlie’s Pencil to summon her late mother, strange things begin to happen. Maira is terrorized by the Sabrina doll. What is happening with the doll and what does it want?

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Creepy Doll, Possession 101

 

Story: Sabrina starts as we meet Laras (Wijayanto) who is called upon to help another family with a spirit haunting their home. The home in question belongs to a dollmaker Aiden (Sugiono) whose niece Vanya (Skornicki) plays Charlie, Charlie in an attempt to make contact with her late mother, only ends up bring an evil spirit to the world that possess a Sabrina doll.

Vanya makes contact with her mother who see starts to play with believing it is her real mother returning to her, though the spirit isn’t as interested to keep Maira around.

 

Thoughts on Sabrina

 

Characters – Maira is the new mother figure in Vanya life, the wife to her Uncle who is trying to build a connection with her niece, she is trying her best and has her own tragic story of loss, with her daughter. She soon starts to become the target of the spirit that doesn’t want her around. Aiden is the dollmaker and toy story owner that brings the Sabrina doll to her niece, he is mostly used to be the one to rescue somebody in trouble. Laras is the retuning psychic that has dealt with possessions in previous films, and we see how this will become her toughest battle to date. Raynard is her partner in her battles, he isn’t as strong as she is and will be the one there to support through each of the battles.

PerformancesLuna Maya returns to the franchise and is good in the leading role, as an Aunt trying to connect with a niece while balancing her own grief of losing a daughter. Christian Sugiono is solid enough in his role, like most horrors the husband doesn’t get as much to do. Sara Wijayanto seems to be the human face of these films with her performance showing how important she is to the film. the rest of the cast are fine without needing to be anything more than this.

StoryThe story follows a young girl that unleashes a paranormal entity upon her home while trying to reconnect to her dead mother, with the use of a creepy doll to carry the entity we watch the psychic do battle with her toughest test to date. This does fall into a possession heavy movie which is strange because the opening half plays on the idea of the doll becoming the evil we will be battle. It does have a serious side which focuses on the battle a young girl will have when dealing with the loss of a parent which I feel is important for the story. this does start with clever moments on to fall into the generic possession heavy story we have seen plenty of times before.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the idea of a doll becoming possessed after an evil entity gets released after a game of Charlie, Charlie, the new Ouija Board, for the early stages of the film, we get nicely built up horror, only to fall into possession heavy battles against the entity which soon becomes too repetitive.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the home of the family, which shows us just how an entity can gain strength from the family that first welcomes it and soon fears it.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the film, we only get simple ones needed to be used though they are clear CGI moments which take away for the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Entity Detector App.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It’s a ghost, lets lock the door.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid little horror, it has good scares, though it is the third in a franchise which might not help if you haven’t seen the first two.

 

Overall: Dolls are made to be feared, especially this one.

Rating

 

 

Mrs. Claus (2018)

Director: Troy Escamilla

Writer: Troy Escamilla (Screenplay)

Starring: Helene Udy, Brinke Stevens, Kaylee Williams, Ryan Poole, Billy Brannigan, Alexandra Brents, Mel Heflin, Hailey Strader

 

Plot: A group of college students attending a Christmas party at a sorority house that has a sinister past are stalked by a bloodthirsty killer disguised as Mrs. Claus.


Tagline – You won’t be going home for Christmas!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Christmas Fun

 

Story: Mrs. Claus starts as we see how a murder suicide happened during intense hazing in a sorority house, 10-years-later Danielle (Strader) returns to the same home which saw her sister murdered to honour her sister. Danielle still being harassed by the mother Mrs Werner (Udy) of the other victim faces a difficult Christmas.

With the girls hosting a party with most of the campus going home for Christmas the friends find themselves getting picked off by a masked killer dressed like Mrs Claus, can they figure out who is behind the mask.

 

Thoughts on Mrs. Claus

 

Characters – Danielle is the younger sister of a murder victim, she decides to attend the same sorority in respect for her sister, she starts seeing her friends go missing while feeling uneasy in the house, she is the only one that truly questions what is going on. Mrs Werner is the mother of the suicide victim, she blames Danielle and her family for her sister’s action, though her grieving process is mostly about finding blame. Julie Cornell is the campus security officer that is searching first for a missing girl and watches over the party. Grant is the cocky guy that thinks he is God’s gift to women which does get the laughs needed in the film.

PerformancesHailey Strader is the best of the cast, she is good in the role of the sister wanting to prove something. The rest of the cast are solid they get to have fun with certain things that happen in the film and make the most of their screen time.

StoryThe story follows a sorority that has a past that gets a mysterious killer picking off the residents during a Christmas party. This does follow the slasher genre which is simple enough and does give us a backstory needing, though it gets carried away with the conclusion which becomes over the top and unnecessary. When we dive into the depth of the story, there isn’t much because it just follows student doing the basics without doing anything with most of the kills coming from the typical horror mistakes.

HorrorThe horror in the film is full blown slasher which is fine, you can enjoy a drink to get the most out of this film.

SettingsThe film is meant to be set in a sorority house, though it never feels like anything bigger than just a normal small family home.

Special EffectsThe effects are good enough for the slasher genre which is all we want, with the wounds being bloody throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
Tyler’s time out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Over kill finish to the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Christmas horror which can be enjoyed by the horror community that like late night horror movies which can just be enjoyed for the slasher side of them being all they want.

 

Overall: The Slasher fans Christmas film this year.

Rating