I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance (2015)

Director: R.D. Braunstein

Writer: Daniel Gilboy (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Butler, Jennfier Landon, Doug McKeon, Gabriel Hogan, Harley Jane Kozak, Michelle Hurd

 

Plot: Jennifer Hills is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago. She’s changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life. But when her new friend’s murderer goes free and the tales of serial rapists haunt her, Jennifer will hunt down the men responsible and do what the system won’t – make them pay for their crimes in the most horrific ways imaginable. Only this time, no jury may be able to save her.


Tagline – Vengeance is a bitch.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Sequel

 

Story: I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine starts as we follow Jennifer, now going by Angela (Butler) trying to get on with her life after the events in the first film, she is haunted by the sexual assault she suffered and has living fantasies about killing any man that comes offensive towards her.

Joining a support group for rape victims, Angela meets Marla (Landon) who wants to make guys pay for their behaviour, while it starts with pranks and minor assault because Angela knows the consequences of full vengeance, though this change when Marla is murdered by her ex-boyfriend that walks for the crime. Angela turns to her vigilante way to get her own revenge for her friend’s death.

 

Thoughts on I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine

 

Characters – Jennifer/Angela, is the victim from the first movie that got her revenge on her rapist, now back in the real world, she is still experiencing nightmares from sexual assault and fantasies of killing anyone that shows any sexual interest, be it a look or inappropriate touching. This becomes a reality once her new friend is killed and now she sets out to kill anyone that has victimised members of the rape support group. Marla is the new friend Angela makes, she has been a victim of an abusive ex-boyfriend and gets to show a looser side when working with Angela to get their message across to the guys in their lives. Oscar is a member of the support group that has seen his daughter raped before she killed herself and the rapist walked free, he talks the revenge game, never sure whether to take the step. Detective McDylan is investigating the murder of Marla and tries to help Angela when the suspect gets murdered, this is a generic cop figure.

PerformancesSarah Butler returns to the franchise (that what it is now?) she is clearly the star of the show here and continues to bring us a strong character in every scene. Jennifer Landon is good in her supporting role getting to be wild at times. Sadly, the rest of the cast are just fine, while the characters they are playing are interesting, we don’t get to see much from them as the film is centred around Sarah’s character and interactions with these characters.

StoryThe story here picks up with the life of Jennifer as she has tried to start a new life after the events in the previous film, yes, we skip the second films events all together. This brings us back to the real world where the hate she feels is still strong, though the motive to act on it is being held back, until her friend is murdered and now she needs to get back to her blood vengeance she is going through to help clean up the streets.

HorrorThe horror from this film comes from the horrors that the victims have been through and how Angela goes out to get her own justice.

SettingsThe film being set in the big city, is a big change, it shows us how the city can be filled with people you would never know their darker secrets and how cleaning them up can be difficult.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are used lightly, but when they are used they are brutal and effective to show the horror being put on the victim.


Scene of the Movie –
The first real murder, it is graphic as they come.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many dream sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to a film that didn’t feel like it needed one, showing the lasting effects of what happened to Jennifer is the highlight of the film and something you do want to continue watching.

 

Overall: Nice sequel that works in the right ways.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – The Veil (2016)

Director: Phil Joanou

Writer: Robert Ben Garant (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Alba, Lily Rabe, Thomas Jane, Aleksa Pallandino, Shannon Woodward, Reid Scott

 

Plot: Twenty-five years after members of a religious cult committed mass suicide, the lone survivor returns to the scene of the tragedy with a documentary crew in tow.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Mystery

 

Story: The Veil starts as we learn about Jim Jacobs (Jane) and his religious cult that committed mass suicide at a place known as ‘The Veil’ only one person survived, a young girl. 25-years-later a documentary film maker Maggie Price (Alba) leads a team with the grown-up survivor Sarah (Rabe) back to ‘The Veil’ to learn what happened and why Sarah was spared.

Being back gives Sarah a few answers as she leads the team around the camp discovering a secret stash of videos which show what Jim Jacobs was up to in cult and not everything is what they were expecting as they start to find themselves haunted by the spirits of the cult.

 

Thoughts on The Veil

 

Characters – Jim Jacobs is the leader of the cult, he wants to prove the spirit can be separated from the body, did he die in the mass suicide or did he achieve his goal with the other members of the cult. Maggie the lead in the documentary team, she introduces the team and arranges for Sarah to return, she does also have a connection to what happened during the mass suicide. Sarah is the lone survivor from the suicide, she returns as a grown up even if she does seem to be happy to be back to learn the truth.

PerformancesThomas Jane is the highlight of this movie, his performance is filled with all the crazy needed for role. Jessica Alba on the other side of the coin is average to poor throughout, this role could have been played by anyone to a higher level. Lily Rabe does continue to make herself feel like she should be in horror films at all times.

StoryThe story follows the documentary team looking at new evidence which could explain what was happening on the site of a mass suicide. The idea of learning what happened through a mix of tapes which sadly don’t feel like found footage which is the biggest problem. The continuing idea works but the forced horror is the stumbling block here. The story does also have flaws including why didn’t the police investigate the property to find the tapes, I mean come on there was a mass suicide surely raiding every possible location is important in an investigation.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does feel forced for the most part and once we see the final scene feels almost unnecessary, this could easily have just stuck to the mystery thriller side of things and kept us on edge wondering where things will go next.

SettingsThe whole film is set on the Veil, it shows a place that has had mass suicides would be haunting to be around as well as have secrets people might have missed.

Special EffectsThe effects for the ‘found footage’ are way too high of a quality, this is mostly down to one moment feeling like it has the grainy effect but the next we are thrown into that time. The ghost activity is fine but nothing overly impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I want to put a couple here, first why did the police not investigate the surrounding area? Why is Jessica Alba a lead actress? The horror is mostly plain old jump scares.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book horror mystery thriller which would have hit higher levels if it had remained just a mystery thriller without the pointless jump scares that miss most times. We also have a forgettable supporting crew in the documentary team.

 

Overall: Try but don’t buy in.

Rating

 

 

Wounds (2019) Movie Review

Director: Babak Anvari

Writer: Babak Anvari (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman, Christin Rankins, Brad William Henke

Plot: Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.


Tagline – Don’t call it in.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wait What?

Story: Wounds starts like most nights in Rosie’s bar, bartender Will (Hammer) has the locals including Alicia (Beetz) her boyfriend Jeffrey (Glusman) and rig worker Eric (Henke) who isn’t afraid to get a little bit rough at times, when a fight gets out of hand, the college students there, left leaving a phone behind, which Will tries to let them know about, only to get a strange string of messages.

What Will discovers on the phone will leave him shocked and needing to find the truth about what he finds on the phone, with his partner Carrie (Johnson) not trusting a single thing he is doing.

Thoughts on Wounds

Characters – Will is a bartender who is generally quite relaxed about what happens in the bar, he knows tricks which will keep people happy, he tries to give himself the cool persona in the bar, outside the bar he is cheating on his girlfriend, which has made his relationship toxic. Will discovers a phone left behind at the bar, which sees him dive into the rabbit hole trying to learn about what the message being sent is really about, which soon sees him start to lose his mind with what he is seeing. Carrie is the girlfriend of Will’s, she is studying at the moment and doesn’t trust Will’s behaviour even before the phone appears. Alicia is one of the locals in the bar, she does have a thing with Will on the side, which does make it difficult when she is around with her boyfriend. Jeffrey is the new boyfriend of Alicia’s that does have a similar path as Will, when it comes to the education side of things, trying to be a tougher man than he is.

PerformancesArmie Hammer is the strongest of the performers in this film, he does handle the calmer sides with ease, only when it comes to losing his mind, it seems safe over stronger, Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz both feel mostly wasted in their roles where they do the best they can without getting much out of their characters. Most of the rest of the cast struggle to get much more out of their characters.

StoryThe story here follows a bartender that finds a phone left behind at the bar which sees him starting to get strange message and experiencing unusually events, which sees his life spiralling out of control. This does start strongly because seeing the cool bartender that finds a horror video on the phone adds plenty of mystery to what is going on. The problems with the story comes from how it ends, because I don’t think it really ended in anyway, we do get to see a couple of looks at serious issues in life, but we don’t follow through with them on a strong enough level. This story will end up leaving you feel flat without anything seeming to finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does have a lot of dread through the film, but it just doesn’t get to the levels where it follows through, with the mystery being interesting to see, only never feeling like it got solved.

SettingsThe film uses the New Orleans backdrop which is one of best horror locations, only it doesn’t seems to use this to the full levels.

Special EffectsThe effects used are mostly to bring the number of bugs to the scenes, which don’t always look that good to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The video clip does give us a shock.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is really hard to read the text messages.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that seems to miss the vital part of the film, the conclusion which just seems to just end without wrapping anything up, despite giving us an interesting mystery to start with.

Overall: Falls Flat.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson (Screenplay)

Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Grahan Greene, Ray Wise, Allegra Carpenter

 

Plot: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Creature Feature

 

Story: Unnatural starts with a global warming warning and something going wrong at a research lab, we go onto meet Martin (Remar) who has bought a photographer and his models to the snow filled location in Alaskan for a photoshoot. We also get the warning of polar bears create by the locals who use them as a warning, or in this case a myth.

When a creature eats one of the models and a guide, Martin must protect the remaining members of the photoshoot including photographer Brooking (Carlson) and stranger Dr Hanna Lindval (Fenn) from the threat outside, a mutated polar bear.

 

Thoughts on Unnatural

 

Characters – Martin is the expert in the area where the photoshoot takes place, he knows the wildlife and how to deal with any threats that come his way and must protect the people who are not used to the threat. Dr Lindval was part of the research team that created the polar bear, she is desperate to survive once it is free but does know more than she is letting on. Brooking in the photographer on the shoot, he does lack the guts to defend himself from the threat. We also have the models but they are here to look pretty through the terror.

PerformanceJames Remar is clearly the biggest draw in this film and he is good without being his best, when you look into the other performance we get the mystery from Fenn and the annoying wimpy guy from Carlson hitting the marks we are expecting to see in the film like this.

StoryGroup of people in Alaska with no escape must rely on one expert to keep them safe against an unknown creature for a set amount of days, well this is easy enough to go with and stops a lot of pointless discussion about trying to get help when there isn’t any, we also have the characters getting picked off in the random order like you would expect which is fine too.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly running from the attacks from the creature which isn’t the most impressive either.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight as we have the group trapped with nowhere to run for the 3 days before the next plan arrives.

Special EffectsThe effects look mostly practical as we barely get to see the monster apart from in the shadows.

Scene of the Movie – The first attack is a fun moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable creature feature that tries to ask bigger questions but doesn’t seem to want to try and answer them.

 

Overall: Not one of the best.

Rating

 

 

Echoes of Fear (2019) Movie Review

Director: Brian Avenet-Bradley, Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Writer: Brian Avenet-Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Trista Robinson, Hannah Race, Paul Chirico, Marshal Hilton, Elif Savas, Danilo Di Julio, Ian Heath

Plot: After inheriting her grandfather’s house, a young woman must confront the mystery of his sudden death and the evil that hides inside.


Tagline – Evil hides inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderful Mystery Horror

Story: Echoes of Fear starts when Alisa (Robinson) inherits her grandfather’s house after his sudden death, she has little option than to prepare it for sale, which sees her move in to get his done, joined by her boyfriend Brandon (Chirico) the two start the preparations.

With Alisa only getting fleeting visits from Brandon and her friend Steph (Race) she starts to experiencing haunting, which sees her looking back through the diary of her grandfather to learn the truth about the house.

Thoughts on Echoes of Fear

Characters – Alisa sees her last family die suddenly, she must head back to the house where she was raised to decide what to do with it next in what seems like a routine, tidy up and sale plan. Her plans are thrown off when she starts hearing noises, suffering nightmares and experiencing visions, which leads to her wanting to learn the truth, going through the house to unlock the truth, which each clue becoming more disturbing for her. Steph is the best friend that can visit at times and will help her with the investigation. Brandon is the boyfriend who is happy to help plan the changes, looking for a quick sell and start of a new life. David is the neighbour that does offer a few answers and is willing to help Alisa with any problems.

PerformancesTrista Robinson is the star of the show, she is the one getting haunted, trying to solve the problems she is experiencing and you believe every moment she is going through. Nobody else is getting too much outside the simple to do, with none of them doing anything wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a relative that inherits a home and soon starts getting haunted by the ghosts of the house, leading her to try and solve the situation. This is a story that does keep us wondering what is going on with us learning more just as Alisa does, which is why this story works so well, because it enters the most interesting sub-genre of horror, with the haunting helping unlock the mystery. We could have a couple of questionable moments including a bit of miss-direction when it comes to what could be going on, this doesn’t really add up, but is nice to guide us away from the truth. This story does try to break certain rules created and does a wonderful job at this too, but lets just ask, why is there a sniffer mouse?

HorrorThe horror side of the film does use a couple of ideas, with the haunting being the biggest moments, while others come off more disturbing by the end.

SettingsThe film does keep most of the action inside the house, being a location, that Alisa would know, but hasn’t been to in a while, with he changes adding to the horror of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to create certain moments of horror, which most coming in the haunting moments.


Scene of the Movie – The final 20 minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sniffer mouse is very strange.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does keep us guessing, it has a disturbing outcome with the haunting being the highlight of the scares.

Overall: Horror with Plenty of Scares.