Hereditary (2018)

Director: Ari Aster

Writer: Ari Aster (Screenplay)

Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Mallory Bechtel

 

Plot: When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited as it slowly destroys everything they know.


Tagline – Every family tree hides a secret.

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Take Time to Analysis

 

Story: Hereditary starts as the family Annie (Collette), Steve (Byrne) Peter (Wolff) and Charlie (Shapiro) are dealing with the death of Annie’s mother and the children grandmother, we go through the funeral and life seems to be going on for them. In their remote house Charlie the younger member of the family however still has a connection to her grandmother which sees her acting in strange ways.

After another tragedy in the family, Annie turns to the dark arts to try and communicate only to learn the truth about her family’s ancestry that has put them all in danger.

 

Thoughts on Hereditary

 

Characters – Annie is the mother of the house, she always had a distant relationship with her mother and works on miniature models for gallery showings. She tries to understand hr grief and when the next tragedy happens to wants to communicate which only shows her the truth about hr mother, this character is always on edge and has the most important scenes in the movie, some of which will leave you disturbed for a while. Steve is the father of the house, he tries to keep everything grounded through the grief, he tries to support, but will draw the lines at certain points. Peter is the eldest child, a slacker in school that enjoys drugs, he has also become distant from his mother (we do learn why) and he must suffer the most when it comes to the events of the film. Charlie is the youngest child, she is definitely the strangest member of the family and we see her do some very strange activities. She also have the closest bond with the later grandmother.

PerformancesWe have one of the best performance in horror, no scratch that, any film this year from Toni Collette, her character is on edge throughout the film and the confrontation scene with Peter is easily one of the best performed scenes of the year. Gabriel Byrne is great here, he does take a step back from reacting the way Toni does and that is by design, he needs to play the calmer, serious character and it shows. Alex Wolff who turned into Dwayne Johnson a few months back in Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, does a very good job here, the only part of his performance I wasn’t convinced by, was his sobbing didn’t feel real. Mill Shapiro is great to and has disturbing scenes to pull off effortlessly too. We have a fantastic family dynamic created by these actors.

StoryThe story here follows a family through the grief process, though it gets a supernatural twist on how they deal with it. While the pacing of the story is slow in the first half of the film, that sudden moment that changes everything ramps up the tension in the story and we don’t go the traditional route to get to the scenes you would expect after the incident. This is a story that is like a giant puzzle, I do feel every single long scene where seemingly nothing does happen, means something and this will be a film that could be analysed for years to come. The final third of the film’s story is where everything picks up and it will leave you shocked and disturbed.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film is built up moments, a mix of nightmares surrounding grief which can be shown in a mix of different ways. The mystery is just what is going on in the second half of the film because things get weird quickly.

SettingsMost of the important family related scenes happen in the house, that is where they are closest and issues come out, when we step away from the house, one character does have events happen to them away from the house, but otherwise the highlights happen at home.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are strong throughout, there was however one scene that stood out badly because it looked like some form of overlay couldn’t quite be put together correctly.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 20 minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is one scene that I could help but pick up on the CGI being used and it annoyed me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that is getting mixed opinions, I do think it is slow paced, but it is rewarding because of this pacing. This is one that will make you think and will leave you shocked by the credits.

 

Overall: One to think hard about.

Rating

 

 

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Darkness Reigns (2018)

Director: Andrew P Jones

Writer: Andrew P Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachary Mooren, Linara Washington, Casper Van Dien, Peter Mayer, Ford Fanter, Jennifer Wenger, James Packard

 

Plot: A film crew is ravaged by a demon, who is hell bent on cashing in on a deal he made with someone on set who was seeking fame and fortune.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Twist on the Found Footage

 

Story: Darkness Reigns starts when Daniel (Mooren) is releasing his new documentary on the events that happened on the film set one year ago. Daniel is working as the cameraman filming the behind the scene footage for a brand new low budget horror movie starring Casper Van Dien. The film is set in a haunted hotel and we get to meet the cast and crew of the movie.

When the hotel turns out to be truly haunted by a demon, the cast and crew face a race to survive against a demon that enjoys playing towards the weakness of its victims.

 

Thoughts on Darkness Reigns

 

Characters – Daniel is the cameraman working on the behind the stage footage, he dreams of becoming the next big director in the world with this being his first steps in the film world. We have him holding the camera which does make sense for the use of the found footage camera work style. Vanessa is the make up artist on the set, she is one of the people needing to find a way to survive. Casper Van Dien is playing a version of himself, he plays the biggest star on set which gets to play out like he is the most important part of the film. we do have the remaining of the cast and crew involved in the horror movie, it would have been nice to meet a few other characters though.

PerformancesZachary Mooren is the lead in the movie, he does make us believe his character has been on edge through the film because we know he makes it out. Linara Washington is good, but we don’t believe her pain when she gets put through the horror moments. Casper Van Dien does play his character role and does look like he is enjoying his role. Where the film is set as a behind the scene filming, we do get to see the performers look like they are trying to avoid the camerawork which makes us understand why they look at act nervous.

StoryThe story here follows the events of a film production that gets taken over by a demonic presence, while Daniel has turned the events into a documentary, we learn this in the opening scene. This is shot like a found footage because it follows the behind the scenes shooting for the extras on the DVD. We learn elements of how a low budget horror movie gets worked on and even having Casper Van Dien playing the most important actor in the movie. There isn’t the deepest story, but I did like how we didn’t go through the ‘set up’ of a found footage film and just jump into the horror when it starts, it is a sudden moment which doesn’t let go.

HorrorThe horror uses demonic presence haunting a film set with a twist that comes late in the film. we keep the horror moments happening mostly off camera and the ones we do see are creepy imagines.

SettingsThe film is set in the abandoned hotel, we learn that most of the doors are blocked off which means the exits are not where they should be, which helps when the endless running to escape because there isn’t an easy way out.

Special EffectsFor the effects we get a mix of CGI and practical, the practical clearly is good, while the CGI looks weak in places.


Scene of the Movie –
The first encounter with the demon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not meeting enough of the film crew.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid horror thriller that brings us a fresh approach to the found footage idea and gives us some secret to how a low budget horror gets made.

 

Overall: Horror fans to watch.

Rating

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

 

Plot: A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


Tagline – Even nice people can go to hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Filled Horror

 

Story: Drag Me to Hell starts where we meet mild manner loan officer Christine (Lohman), trying for the vacant assistant managers job, dating a professor Clay (Long) and generally just being a nice timid person. Christine’s day seems routine enough, but when Mrs Ganush (Raver) comes to her for an extension on the loan she must reject it.

Mrs Ganush begs and pleads for an extension, before being shamed, this forces her to put a curse on Christine, one that causes nightmares, day terrors and the need to solve this before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Drag Me to Hell

 

Characters – Christine Brown is one of the best modern horror characters, she does an honest job, she isn’t rude, pushy or arrogant, she just makes a living the best she can. She has worked her way up to a potential assistant manager role. She is filled with innocence it adds to the horrors we see her having to experience after she gets cursed. Clay is the supportive boyfriend, a professor of psychology, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural even being the annoying rude figure to a fortune teller. Mrs Ganush is the gypsy that has seen her loan go bad, she needs an extension again which Christine much reject, we feel little sympathy towards her and the motivation for putting the curse on Christine.

PerformancesAlison Lohman is brilliant in this role, we truly believe that she is the character of innocent nature. Alison is the true star of this movie, she goes through the most too. Justin Long is good in his role even if he is only the supportive boyfriend. Lorna Raver is great as the gypsy woman as you are filled with fear watching her.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that is doing her job and she gets cursed by a vengeful customer. While this story does follow the traditions with its linear idea of woman needs to find away to lift curse as the hauntings are getting worse each time she is haunted. We get to look into curses and how they can have people attempt to lift them while haunting continue to get worse. It could easily be thrown into the idea of one woman dealing with guilt.

HorrorThe horror in this movie is almost none stop, when it hits we do know when things happen and each moment becomes more terrifying.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a normal American city, it shows how the everyday life of Christine is routine until the curse gets thrown on her, this takes us to more horror related location.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for the most part, we have great horror effects when it comes to practical, but hits us with weak CGI moments only draw us back.


Scene of the Movie –
Prepare the goat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Clays behaviour to the fortune teller, way to generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern horror movies out there, we have terrifying scenes which are built up perfectly for the horror.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – The Black Cauldron (1985)

Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich

Writer: David Jonas, Vance Gerry, Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Al Wilson, Roy Morita, Peter Young, Art Stevens, Joe Hale (Screenplay) Lloyd Alexander (Novel)

Starring: (voice talents) Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Arthur Malet, John Byner

 

Plot: A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.


Tagline – Magic twelve years in the making. Magic that will live forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Fantasy Animation

 

Story: The Black Cauldron starts as we meet young pig farmer Taran, who has been getting trained to take over the care of Hen Wen a pig that is the only creature on Earth that knows the location of the Black Cauldron, the place where the evil Horned King can regain his power.

When the King learns that Hen Wen knows the locations he goes in search of the pig, which leads Taran to go on an adventure across the fantasy world to stop the Horned King regaining his power and bringing a new era of terror across the land.

 

Thoughts on The Black Cauldron

 

Characters – Taran is the traditional Disney reluctantly hero, he was a small pig farmer that goes on an adventure to fulfil his destiny by stopping the evil and bringing together a group off unlikely characters. Eilonwy is the princess that joins the adventure, her care free attitude helps along the way and makes for a strong character than we think. The Horned King is the ruler trying to gain his power to take over the land and will do anything to make sure he has this power. These characters are the by the book for this genre and don’t becoming anything overly memorable.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely hero that goes on an adventure to hopeful save the fantasy world from an evil ruler. This does follow the idea of bringing unlikely friends together on the adventure and does become very dark for a Disney movie, but does follow the whole traditional ideas we have come to know.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/HorrorThe action goes hand in hand with the adventure as we see how the characters must work together to win and battles with the use of the fantasy world, there are elements of horror too because of certain chase sequences and events that happen around the Cauldron.

SettingsThe settings take us on the adventure fantasy world that you could see in any of these movies, which is fine for me.

AnimationThe time this movie was made, you would think this is good high standard for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too dark for a Disney animation.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fantasy adventure that follows everything you need it to, but will be too dark for the younger audience.

 

Overall: Very dark animation from the Disney brand.

Rating

 

 

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2018)

Director: Don Michael Paul

Writer: John Whelpley (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Kennedy, Tanya van Graan, Jamie-Lee Money, Michael Gross, Kiroshan Naidoo, Keeno Lee Hector

 

Plot: The sequel finds Burt Gummer and his son Travis at a remote research station, where they must go up against Graboids that have been converted into living weapons.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sequel

 

Story: Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell starts when Burt Gummer (Gross) and his son Travis (Kennedy) head to a remote Artic research station run by Dr Rita Sims (Graan) who seems to be having a graboid problem, with one of her team Valerie McKee (Money) knowing the legends of the graboids.

When it turns out Burt has become infected with a virus from the graboids, the race to capture one alive to find a potential cure is on, let alone just trying to survive this new attack.

 

Thoughts on Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell

 

Characters – Burt Gummer is back and now living a quiet life running the shop in the local town from the original, he is suffering the effects from the previous encounters with the graboids with a virus running through his body. This time he will need to battle the graboids and facing his past with Travis. Travis is the son of Burt that we first met in the last film, he does the more extreme moments of the film without being as involved this time around. Dr Rita Sims has the title and knows that Burt needs medical help making her one of the few people that could save him. Valerie McKee is the daughter of Valentine from the very first Tremors (the Kevin Bacon character) she knows how the handle graboids from the stories of Burt.

PerformancesMichael Gross has continued his over the top performances in this franchise for years now, this is no different without being truly as strong as the previous films. Jamie Kennedy is here, but he doesn’t bring the energy that we had last time, as the for the new comers they are fine without being the best.

StoryThe story here follows the latest adventure Burt goes on in his fight with the graboids, this takes him to a new location and lets him battle them alongside his son once again. The story tries to bring back a familiar name, though without a bit of research you won’t get the reference and the adventure just doesn’t feel overly peril filled, compared to the last one and the evolutions doesn’t get a proper look. The story does everything you need for a Tremors film without being the worst or the best.

Action/Comedy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is what we know with the graboids destroying or being destroyed which is fine, the comedy for me misses a lot here with most being very forced as the for horror and sci-fi we know where things go in this franchise by now.

SettingsThe settings are good because it takes the attack to a location it shouldn’t be happening and creates new problems for the team to work on.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film are mixed, because the practical ones look good, but as soon as they become CGI they become weaker.


Scene of the Movie –
Trying to catch a graboid.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mouth piece.

Final ThoughtsThis is another watchable sequel in the Tremors franchise, it keeps things simple and easy to watch without being one of the stand outs in anyway.

 

Overall: Easy to watch

Rating