I Am Mother (2019) Movie Review

Director: Grant Sputore

Writer: Michael Lloyd Green (Screenplay) Grant Sputore (Story)

Starring: Luke Hawker, Rose Byrne, Tahlia Sturzaker, Clara Rugaard, Hilary Swank

Plot: A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot “Mother” — designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.


Tagline – She’ll keep you safe
Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Starts Well, Finishes Weakly

Story: I Am Mother starts when a baby is bought to life raised by a robotic mother, known only as Mother, we see the girl known only as daughter raised to a teenager (Rugaard) where she starts to become more interested in what could be outside the bunker she is being raised in, the questions always get shot down by Mother and when a mysterious Woman (Swank) arrives the relationship between Mother and Daughter becomes tense.

After the woman is let in, she starts filling in daughter to what is outside the bunker and the mystery about the woman only continues to increase as Mother does what is expected, protect her young. Will Daughter risk her life to learn more or accept her role in the bunker.

Thoughts on I Am Mother

Characters – Daughter has been raised in a bunker by Mother, she has been taught the world outside was destroyed, with the training taught by the robot mother, would bring more humans to her life. Hitting the teenage years, Daughter continues to want to know what is outside the world she is living in and he willingness to help a stranger only makes her decisions more confusing. Mother is the robotic figure that has raised Daughter, she is learning on the job, with the idea being once prepared more will be raised, we see how everything she is preparing is for protection for the greatest good. Woman is the stranger who wants to get into the bunker, she shows that there is a bigger world outside and that has more humans in, her story only makes Daughter’s life more confusing all around.

PerformancesClara Rugaard is the star of the show here, the teenage daughter character who must deal with the confliction thrown her way and handles everything in a believable way through the film. Hilary Swank does bring the star power to the film, she does everything right without being on the level of the top sci-fi horror stars. Having such a small cast we don’t really see anybody else bring anything to the film.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that has been raised in a bunker where she believes the world outside has been destroyed, all this changes, when a stranger arrives, giving her a decision to make about what she wants to believe anymore. This is a story that does start in a very interesting manor, by making us see the raising of daughter with the desire to know more about the outside world, this is routine and watching how the stranger and mother are both trying to convince her what is real, we see her needing to bounce between both sides. Once we go to the outside, this is where things start to fall apart for us and it just seems to fizzle out without answers any of the real questions posed.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in the film comes from learning the truth and just what that might mean for Daughter in her world. The sci-fi side of the film is the highlight because it puts us in the middle of a world that has seen destruction and this puts us in the location that is meant to be safe.

SettingsThe film is set in one location for the most part, the bunker, this does show us just what situation the world is left in, with our character not having anywhere to go. Once we leave the bunker, we do see everything go downhill with the generic looking CGI world.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed too, with the bunker location and Mother figure looking brilliant, but outside you can see the green screen effects in play.


Scene of the Movie – Searching for the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The ending.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi film that had so much interesting material going in, only for it to fall flat with the ending.

Overall: Falls flat by the end.

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Robert De Niro Weekend – Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace, at first, in her imaginary friend.


Tagline – If you want to know the secret, you have to play the game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Horror

 

Story: Hide and Seek starts when psychologist David (De Niro) loses his wife to a sudden suicide, to help his daughter Emily (Fanning) through the trauma he decides to move to a more remote location upstate of New York.

David is trying to settle in with Emily, who soon starts to have her own imagine friend named Charlie, David does turn to colleague Katherine (Janssen) for advice, while trying to move on with both their lives, only Charlie starts to show an evil side.

 

Thoughts on Hide and Seek

 

Characters – David is a psychologist in the big city of New York, he has a wife and daughter, only all his skills can’t help him see the depression his own wife is suffering through, needing to put his life back together with his daughter, he needs to  make sure Emily doesn’t fall into needing more help, while navigating learning to live in a new town. Emily is the daughter that became traumatised after the death of her mother, she uses her imaginary friend to get away with doing evil things around the house. Emily is a character that you can understand the acting against the normal because dealing with loss can be difficult for a child. Katherine is the colleague that specialises in helping children, she is the one that David turns to for added advice for helping his daughter. Elizabeth is a local divorced woman with a child the same age as Emily, David tries to build a friendship for both himself and Emily with her, Elizabeth shows that people can be patient when searching for new friendship.

PerformancesRobert De Niro stepping into the horror genre is something refreshing, he does show how difficult it could be for a father to keep everything together after losing a wife. Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter brings the fear required, while also being creepy through the film. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue are both solid enough supporting the film, without needing to make that big of an impact in what is going on.

StoryThe story follows a recently widowed father taking his daughter to start a new life in a quieter neighbourhood, only for her to get a new imaginary friend that doesn’t like the people in her life. Now this story could and does start by showing the effects of a trauma on a young girl, after she witnesses her mother’s suicide, this could explain the actions she ends up causing through the film, the problem with the story comes from the fact the film sets this up, only to go in a direction which makes zero sense for anything we have seen in the first act. It also doesn’t help the fact we have five yes FIVE different endings too. This is a story that completely derails because of a simple choice and ends up just being difficult to watch.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is confusing too, mostly because it is weak dream sequences before anything being remotely scary happening until the final third of the film which, does have strong moments, just doesn’t make sense to what we knew before. The mystery in the film comes from trying to figure out who Charlie is, because we get suggestions it could be a person with the number of people that get introduced around the new home, add in that it could be supernatural, we are left to figure out who they are.

SettingsThe film is set in upstate New York where the father and daughter are trying to start a new life away from the busy life that could have caused added stress in life. It does give the family an isolation factor which adds to the potential suspense in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Not interested in new friends.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The third act twist just confuses everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that was going in a smooth direction to be interesting only to take a twist which makes it frustrating by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Weak ending horror.

Rating

 

 

Once Upon a Time in a Haunted House (2019) Horror Short

Director: Ramone Menon

Writer: Ramone Menon (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniella Mendoza, Marvin J Edmonds, C.J. Baker, Anna Chavez, Patrick Rutnam

Plot: A desperate illegal immigrant takes a job as the caregiver of a malevolent ghost at a Haunted House.


Tagline – This is No Fairytale

Runtime: 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Creepy Horror Shocker

Story: Once Upon a Time in a Haunted House starts as we follow Dario (Edmonds) going on a date with Raquel (Mendoza), the date is at her apartment, which instantly has a creepy vibe once he enters, it isn’t long before he learns the truth about the date. We have chapters here with which will explain Raquel’s position in this house, the mother figure that lurks in the shadows and just what the plan is the visitors.

Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in a Haunted House

Final Thoughts Being a short horror, it would be unfair to give everything away, so first we must admire the fact this story, it does get told in a reverse style, seeing how each character has found themselves in the position before we get to see the big reveal to what is the evil in the film. Each chapter has a strong build to an incident which relies on the performance reaction from the potential victim, which makes us want to see more, with the chapter when everything is unleashed being the one, we have been waiting for. When it comes to a short film, we can always look at what could be longer and this is one story that could become a feature film, with the mystery having everything we want to see, when it comes to creating a mystery behind the horror we are about to watch. This is a short that makes you want to see more, which is what we want from any short film.

Overall: Horror Short Leaving You Wanting More.

Dead Shack (2017)

Director: Peter Ricq

Writer: Phil Ivanusic, Davila LeBlanc, Peter Ricq (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Lizzie Boys, Gabriel LaBelle, Lauren Holly, Donavon Stinson, Valerie Tian

 

Plot: While staying at a cabin in the woods during the weekend, three teenage kids discover their neighbor is ‘feeding’ guests to her zombie family. In short order, the battle is on as the kids fight to save themselves and their family.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow & Mundane

 

Story: Dead Shack starts when Roger (Stinson) is taking his kids Summer (Boys), Colin (LaBelle) and friend Jason (Nelson-Mahood) with his new girlfriend Lisa (Tian) to a camping trip in a forest cabin. As the kids goes exploring, they find the neighbouring house, which has lone woman (Holly) living in it, that brings back young men.

When the kids clear what she is up to they learn that she is collecting people to feed to her zombie family and now they have become her latest targets.

 

Thoughts on Dead Shack

 

Characters – Jason is the quiet teenager that joins the family on their camping trip, he clearly fancies Summer and is good friends with Colin. He needs to learn to step up when it comes to dealing with the neighbour if he is ever going to impress Summer too. Summer is the sister of Colin and I want to say older one at that, she doesn’t take anything from any body sticking up for herself whenever she is in trouble, she is the bravest of the group. Colin is the loud mouth brother and friend, he will always put his foot in it with his weak jokes and insults. The Neighbour is a woman that brings victims to her house to feed to her zombie family, when any escape she can hunt them just to keep her secret safe.

PerformancesThe three kids are the main part of the film, Matthew Nelson-Mahood is fine in the group with Lizzie Boys and Gabriel LaBelle just giving the average you would expect to see. Lauren Holly doesn’t make her character as menacing as she could do either.

StoryThe story is simple, it follows three teenagers that learn their neighbour is a killer that is feeding her zombie family, only to become the latest targets. Think Fright Night with zombies and elements of a weak Stranger Things union between the friends, though the problem comes from the being older acting around their dad, I could see how the friends could use the language together, but around a father it does seem unlikely. The idea of suiting up to fight is acceptable without being anything new, it could do with being lighter hearted for a comedy, but the tone just comes off average and plain through the whole film.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film doesn’t hit very often, it does juvenile for the most part. The horror misses to because we are going with a comedy attempt we don’t aim to make anything scary.

SettingsThe film does take us to an isolated location which does work for what the neighbour is getting up to, other than that even the forest doesn’t get used well enough to create atmosphere.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do work, they seem to be practical and while most are cuts or body horror, they do understand how to make us look twice.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Colin is mostly annoying throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror comedy that doesn’t seem to know which side of the fence is wants to settle on, it isn’t funny enough to be a comedy and isn’t scary enough to be a horror, which only makes it feel plain and forgettable.

 

Overall: Lost in the genre shuffle.

Rating

 

 

Antonio Banderas Weekend – The Skin I Live In (2011)

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Writer: Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar (Screenplay) Thierry Jonquet (Novel)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Eduard Fernandez, Jose Luis Gomez

 

Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling & Disturbing

 

Story: The Skin I Live In starts as we see how Robert’s (Banderas) research as a plastic surgeon has helped create a new form of synthetic skin to help burn victims recover from the pain they suffer through, he has a guinea pig for this, Vera (Anaya) who has been suffering the pain for years, though his research has made it bearable for her, with her special body suit to protect her.

Robert can’t get approval from the medical boards to continue his work, which shows as it turns out Vera is being hidden from the world, though he does have his own motives for trying to find a cure after a tragedy involving his wife and daughter.

 

Thoughts on The Skin I Live In

 

Characters – Robert is a plastic surgeon with a tragic past, he lost his wife due to the after effects of a fire accident and his daughter to another. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through these pains and has created a new synthetic skin to help recover damaged skin on burn victims, the question is, will he go too far in his search for answers? Vera is the guinea pig, still suffering just as badly as she once was, she has a bond with Robert while also wanting to escape from him. Marilia is the mother of Robert, he has remained loyal to her and she has helped him with his projects no matter whether they are right or wrong. Vicente is a young man from the town that commits a horrible crime and believes nothing of it.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is unlike anything we have seen from him before, cold, calculated and always planning, it is a very disturbing performance for the most part. Elena Anaya is great in her role as the guinea pig which only makes you think how good her performance is once you learn the full story. Marisa Paredes gives us a good strong supporting performance and Jan Cornet is great in his role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a plastic surgeon trying to make a difference in the world, he has a guinea pig locked away as he tries to make a skin that is harder than normal ski to help recovery, only he is haunted by his past and has taken shocking decisions along the way to change it forever. The story starts off feeling like an interesting science related one, then suddenly it takes a big twist that will leave you needing to re-digest everything you saw in the first half of the film. this is a story that will stick with you because of how chilling and disturbing the story gets and will make you want to pause and react before learning the next chapter of the secret. A story like this is one you must applaud for being different surprising and one that will stick with you.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film come from what we learn, they will shock you and disturb just as much as they should.

SettingsThe film keeps us in Robert’s house for the most part, it is isolated away from the world, just the way he likes it, which has helped his patients before only now, it will be for his own benefit.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is the moment that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lost track about what is finally happening to Norma, his daughter.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most shocking and disturbing movies you will see even if it starts seemingly harmless.

 

Overall: Will leave you shocked.

Rating